Isaiah Thomas knows what it’s like to be traded, having been through it with Sacramento and Phoenix, but when he was dealt this summer to the Cavaliers by the Celtics in the Kyrie Irving trade, he felt very different than in the past. In a recent profile with Sports Illustrated, Thomas insisted it’s all love between he and Boston, with one major exception.
That would be general manager Danny Ainge, the man responsible for unceremoniously shipping Thomas off this summer to land another star in Irving. Whether Ainge made the Celtics better with the trade or not, sending Thomas out of town after everything the point guard had been through on and off the court over the past year irked many in the NBA, including Thomas.
Thomas said he might not ever speak to Danny Ainge again because of how hurt he was. On Wednesday, after the story ran, Ainge responded by saying he understood Thomas being upset but didn’t think Isaiah understood how much he loved him. The concept of loyalty is a silly one in modern sports, but so often the burden of being loyal falls on the players rather than the teams, which can often hide behind the “business” of sport to explain moves to fans.
Dwyane Wade knows what it’s like to make sacrifices for a team and play on a below-value deal for the betterment of the franchise, only to find frustrations when it came time to discuss a new deal. That’s how Wade ended up leaving Miami for Chicago in 2016, and now as a member of the Cavaliers, Wade is teammates with Thomas and understands him having hard feelings towards his old boss and lent his public support on Twitter.
The original tweet Bulls writer Vincent Goodwill referred to and Wade agreed with was a video from NBC Sports Boston, where they were debating whether Thomas was right to be upset with Ainge. Goodwill said Ainge can’t be let off the hook for dealing Thomas, and Wade concurs.
Wade isn’t the first NBA player to seem frustrated with Thomas’ trade and the concept of loyalty in the NBA, as LeBron James, Ray Allen, Chris Paul, and others liked a post on Instagram about how players feel pressure to be loyal while teams get more of a pass to make decisions on moving players.