Cleveland Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas opened up about his trade from the Boston Celtics in a piece that ran Wednesday for the Players' Tribune, saying, "I don't think the Boston Celtics got better by making this trade."
Regarding the deal executed by Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, Thomas wrote:
"I don't agree with it, just personally, and I don't think the Boston Celtics got better by making this trade. But that's not my job. That's Danny's. And it's a tough job, and he's been really good at it. But at the end of the day, these deals just come down to one thing: business. So it's no hard feelings on that end. I'm a grown man, and I know what I got into when I joined this league—and so far it's been more blessings than curses. I'm not sitting here, writing this, because I feel I was wronged. I wasn't wronged. It was Boston's right to trade me."
Thomas, 28, was traded along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets' 2018 first-round pick and a 2020 second-round selection for Kyrie Irving last month. He was an All-Star each of the last two seasons but is recovering from a hip injury that will likely keep him out for part of the upcoming regular season.
Aside from categorizing himself as "hurt" by the deal because of the special bond he had with Boston and its fans, Thomas used his platform to defend player rights. He highlighted the hypocrisy of critics of Kevin Durant, pointing out how teams can trade stars without the same level of scorn:
"I want them to see how my getting traded—just like that, without any warning—by the franchise that I scratched and clawed for, and bled for, and put my everything on the line for? That's why people need to fix their perspective. It's like, man—with a few exceptions, unless we're free agents, 99 times out of 100, it's the owners with the power. So when players are getting moved left and right, and having their lives changed without any say-so, and it's no big deal … but then the handful of times it flips, and the player has control … then it's some scandal? Just being honest, but—to me, that says a lot about where we are as a league, and even as a society. And it says a lot about how far we still have to go."
Thomas said Tom Brady texted him after the trade asking him if he was OK and wishing him the "best of luck." He said he was disappointed that he'd never be a Brady, David Ortiz or Bill Russell in Boston—legends who spent their primes winning championships for the city.