For the last two years, Isaiah Thomas has been the face of the Boston Celtics. Even more importantly, he has been the heart and soul of the franchise — the Celtics are one of those professional sports teams that have a certain aura around them, and like all teams that have this aura, there’s usually one player who understands the significance of wearing said team’s jersey.
Since his first full season with the team in 2015-16, Thomas was that kind of player. That was especially the case the following year, when Thomas was a legitimate MVP candidate and the driving force behind the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference. He played hurt. He got hurt during games and kept playing. He even suited up and played in a postseason game a day after his sister died in a car crash despite the fact that his head coach said that he was struggling in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Basically, Thomas was the Boston Celtics, which made it so weird that the team traded him to the Cavaliers in the deal that netted Boston Kyrie Irving. This is far more understandable when you view it through a very simple prism: Thomas really wanted to get paid. This is because, well, money is a thing that people need and Thomas, as a superstar in the NBA who has never cashed in on a huge payday, wants to make what the market determines he is worth, which is — [crunches numbers] — a lot of money.