Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas takes defiant tone in Cavaliers press conference

Alex Reimer
September 07, 2017 - 2:05 pm

Isaiah Thomas revealed his true feelings about the blockbuster trade that sent him to Cleveland with a single glance. When Thomas was asked about leaving Boston after building the team back into a championship contender, his eyes darted towards teammate Jae Crowder. Then, he uttered three words that matched his searing expression.

“We built that,” he said. 

It’s apparent the events of the last two weeks have hardened Thomas. Just four months ago, the beloved point guard was on top. Thomas played through dental surgery, a torn hop and the death of his younger sister during the Celtics’ incredible postseason run. In his emotional farewell Players’ Tribune essay, Thomas said he thought he could join Tom Brady and David Ortiz in the pantheon of Boston sports legends. 

But now, after getting shipped to the Cavaliers in exchange for Kyrie Irving, Thomas has become damaged goods. The Cavaliers were dissatisfied with his physical, asking the Celtics for more compensation. LeBron James reportedly cooled on Thomas when he learned his new point guard may not be able to take the court until after the All-Star Break.

Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman didn’t do anything to dispel those doomsday reports Thursday. He refused to answer any questions about Thomas’ hip, instructing the media to focus its attention elsewhere.

“I don’t want this to be the “Isaiah Thomas hip press conference,” he said. “So with all due respect, I’m going to shut down the hip questions. If we want to talk about Isaiah, let’s talk about Isaiah the All-Star.”

Isaiah the All-Star was reflective at the podium, but also defiant. He expounded on how the trade taught him about the cold reality of professional basketball. Oftentimes, business trumps loyalty. 

“It was surprising, definitely caught time off guard,” Thomas said when asked about his initial thoughts on the trade. “It also woke me up. It made me realize this is a business and anyone other than LeBron James and Kevin Durant and those kinds of guys can be traded. I prayed on it, thought about it, slept on it, and I’m just thankful for this opportunity. I’m blessed to be traded to a situation where we could win a championship next year. 

“I’ve been shooting under 10-foot hopes since I was seven. The balls are the same and the hoops are the same.”

Thomas, who was the last pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, has been doubted every step along the way of his career. He says he’s comfortable being the underdog. But that doesn’t mean he enjoys it.

"I averaged 29 a game and they’re still gonna talk. I could be MVP one day and they’re still gonna say something is wrong with my game,” he said. “That’s just been my story so I’ve been fine with it. It's been what I’ve had to fight through my whole career and I’m going to continue to fight until my career is over. That’s just what it is.” 

There’s little doubt Thomas will be on a mission this season in Cleveland. The question is, will his hip prevent him from executing it?

Comments ()