Isaiah Thomas has had himself a week. And it’s only Wednesday. His Cavs are on a four-game losing streak, including a couple of monster losses to Minnesota and Toronto, and then a double-digit home loss to Golden State. After the game, a certain number of “marquee” Cavs players went off the record to talk about the issues facing the team and one league source told Cleveland.com that the team’s “Rotations are awful. IT (Isaiah Thomas) is so much worse than Kyrie (Irving) defensively it’s insane.”
Damn. That’s a sledgehammer to a guy who’s still working his way back from a hip injury and trying to find his place on a new team.
And on top of all of that, we’re getting closer to the February 11th return to Boston that was to serve as Paul Pierce Day and the day the Celtics were also going to honor Isaiah Thomas. Except Pierce didn’t really want to share his day with anyone else and made no secret of that, which meant that Thomas looked like he was trying to crash the party.
Pierce told ESPN that Thomas had his chance to be honored when he returned to Boston on January 3rd, but he chose not to take it, because he was injured. “(Thomas) had a shot to be honored. You came to Boston. Whether you are playing or not, you should have had your tribute then. I just don’t see how, if someone is having a jersey retirement, they’re going to be running other tributes for other players.
“Danny tried to sell me on it, but I told him, ‘He had a shot, Danny, and he punked you on it. He pretty much dictated everything.’ They let it happen because they felt sorry how (the trade to Cleveland) went down. It’s guilt. That’s what it is.”
I don’t know if it’s guilt or not, but it was a screw up. Ainge claimed that when Thomas passed on the chance to be honored on January 3rd, because he was injured and his family wouldn’t be there, the team just agreed to do it the next time Cleveland was in town and forgot that it was Pierce’s day to be recognized.
So I get Pierce’s frustration, but at the same time, it’s not like that was suddenly going to become Paul Pierce and Isaiah Thomas Day. That would most definitely still be Paul Pierce Day, with an Isaiah Thomas video shown during pregame introductions. That’s like having a salad before turkey on Thanksgiving and somehow thinking that the salad takes away from the turkey. Hell no. Thanksgiving is still about turkey, no matter what small plate you have before it.
And if anything, Pierce would have guaranteed that the team was going to go completely over the top to honor him and cover for the fact that they messed up the dates. Instead, both players end up looking greedy and selfish, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what you’re looking to do when you’re trying to honor a former player.
Yesterday, Thomas tweeted: ‘I’d like to thank the Celtics for their gracious offer to play a video tribute on Feb 11th celebrating my 3yrs in Boston. But since it appears this has caused some controversy w/ Paul Pierce’s night I’d ask the Celtics instead to focus all of their attention on #34’s career. And then added: I look forward to coming back and playing in Boston on Feb 11th and see all of the great fans whom I will always remember for their love and incredible support the past few years.’
So that should be the end of it, right? Wrong. Because here’s your third man in!! It’s Rajon Rondo!!! Wait, Rajon Rondo?!? He’s sprinting out of a secret passageway and jumping into the fight like Trevor Ariza, Chris Paul, and the other Rockets, and he wasn’t looking to hype Isaiah Thomas either.
Bill Doyle tweeted: ‘Rajon Rondo was irked to hear that the Celtics would honor Isaiah Thomas on any night. “What has he done?” Rondo asked. Told that he led the Celtics to the conference finals last year, Rondo remarked, “Oh, that’s what we celebrate around here?”’
And Rondo wasn’t done. There’s more from Doyle: “This is the Boston Celtics. This isn’t the Phoenix Suns, no disrespect to any other organization, but you don’t hang conference titles. Do we hang going to the conference finals? What do we hang here?” Title banners, Rondo was told. “OK, cool,” Rondo said.
Freaking incredible. The Phoenix Suns have absolutely nothing to do with this fight. They’re just minding their own business, struggling through a 16-29 season, and they get hit by a rock lobbed by Rondo. As always, whenever says “no disrespect to…” some serious disrespect is coming, and that was a boulder that crushed the Suns.
And I understand Rondo’s point, that the Celtics don’t hang conference titles. But they weren’t going to retire IT’s jersey, they’re going to show a freaking video.
Yes, Thomas wasn’t in Boston nearly as long as Pierce, nobody is saying that. And his contributions to the Celtics, while very important in the turnaround, aren’t nearly as important at Pierce’s contributions to the Celtics. Just like nobody’s trying to say that IT’s 2 ½ years compare to Pierce’s 15 in Boston. That’s why one of them is getting a compilation of highlights that will then reside on YouTube and the other is getting a jersey that will reside in the rafters.
This whole thing has become a complete mess that makes just about everyone involved look a little worse than before it started. Everybody needs to take a step back and chill, before this turns into another NBA fight. And we’ve already had too many of those this week. No one looks good here; and everyone looks bad. This could not have been handled any worse by everyone involved.