After former Boston Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas addressed the probability of returning to the city where the 2017 MVP candidate is revered most, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka delivered a solid response to the 33-year’s old inquiries after practice, Tuesday.
Thomas, who agreed to a 10-day contract with the Charlotte Hornets last week, had a lot to say about Boston during his introductory press conference. In wanting to set the record straight, Thomas expressed his disappointment.
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However, his frustration doesn’t stem only from the fact that Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens hasn’t reached out to Isaiah, but also because of the narrative attached to the caliber player Thomas used to be in Boston.
Isaiah Thomas: ‘Whether I Play or Not, I Can Make a Positive Impact’
According to Thomas, the added pressure hasn’t helped his case for a potential reunion.
“It sucks because that’s just the outside talking. No one’s ever asked me what I think of situations of coming to a team and not playing,” Thomas said, per NBC Sports Boston. “No one’s come up to me and asked me straight up, and when they do, I tell them exactly what I told you. Whether I play or not, I can make a positive impact on any organization each and every day. That’s who I am, that’s who I’ve always been.”
Ime Udoka: ‘Point Guard Was Never a Position of Need’
Toward the end of his media availability after practice, Udoka weighed in on why the Celtics, who have made a flurry of roster moves lately, never turned to Isaiah.
“Point guard was never really a position of need,” Udoka explained Tuesday. “Obviously, trading Dennis (Schroder) and getting Derrick (White) back; that filled some of the holes, and obviously Payton (Pritchard) got more of an opportunity there. So, with Marcus (Smart) playing at the level he is and Payton getting the opportunity, and then Derrick being able to do something, as well as Jayson (Tatum) and Jaylen (Brown) handling quite a bit, point guard was never a position of need.”
At this stage of his career, Thomas says he’s confident he’d be able to adapt to any NBA team.
“I’ve been in every situation where obviously I’ve been a franchise player before, I’ve been a guy who gets 29 DNPs in a season; I’ve been that and been able to make impacts throughout those situations,” Thomas added. “So, it’s unfair for people to say those things. Obviously, I want to play. Who wouldn’t?”
It’s safe to say Isaiah would leap at the opportunity to play for the Celtics again. Even without Udoka allocating minutes for the veteran guard, Thomas would still love to rejoin the team.
“That’s something I can’t control, and that’s a big reason why Brad (Stevens), even Danny (Ainge), years ago when I offered to come back and tried to come back, the pressure from the outside; the pressure from the fans (came in). I can’t control that,” Thomas said. “They want to see me play, but I’m not going to egg it on like, ‘Yeah, since they’re calling my name to play, I should be playing.’ I’ve never been that guy; I’ve never been that person. I think that’s a cop-out and an easy way to say things. And I’m not saying that’s a cop-out on Danny or Brad.
“I’m saying I can control those situations of the outside world wanting me to play; that’s easy to do.”