Isaiah Thomas became a beloved figure among Boston Celtics fans during his time with the team, but Thomas' now-former teammates reportedly may not have felt the same way toward the two-time All-Star point guard.
Fox Sports' Chris Broussard reported on Undisputed Wednesday he had spoken with NBA executives who said Celtics players "really weren't that fond of Isaiah":
"Cleveland is winning the East, and they're better equipped to play Golden State than they were before." — @Chris_Broussard https://t.co/EuqeLZMj0B2017-8-23 15:01:33
Broussard's report contradicts comments made by Celtics head coach Brad Stevens following the death of Thomas' sister prior to the first round of the NBA playoffs in April. Stevens described Thomas as "a great teammate" during a press conference:
"I think everybody reached out. It's a close-knit team. He's a big part of it. Isaiah's a great teammate. Isaiah's a great husband. He's a great father. He's a great guy, great son and brother. And I think, ultimately, we just all tried to do our part in letting him know we were thinking about him, and anything we could all do to help, we'd do."
If there was a level of friction between Thomas and other Celtics players, then that likely would've factored into the Celtics' choice to trade him. ESPN's Jeff Goodman also reported Boston had "significant concern" about the effects of the hip injury that ended Thomas' season.
During a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said Thomas' hip was at least a minor consideration in the team's decision-making process.
"Um, I don't—you know, it, some," Ainge said, per USA Today's Sam Amick. "There's going to be probably a little bit of a delay for Isaiah as he starts the season this year, but—um—I think that Isaiah should be fine and healthy as the season goes along."
Many believe the Cavs made out very well from the Irving trade, especially in light of the poor returns the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers received for Jimmy Butler and Paul George, respectively. In addition to Thomas, the Cavaliers got Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets' 2018 first-round pick.
However, Cleveland is still assuming some risk with Thomas. He's in the final year of his contract, adding urgency to the need for him to fit in with his new team and continue to play like an All-Star after the hip injury.