NBA players are upset with the Boston Celtics for trading Isaiah Thomas, who showed loyalty and commitment to the team.
Isaiah Thomas spent three seasons with the Boston Celtics, emerging as one of the best point guards in the league and the catalyst for Boston’s recent success. Given his importance to the Celtics, players around the NBA aren’t happy that Boston traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Kyrie Irving.
ESPN NBA reporter Chris Haynes appeared on Sportscenter yesterday, revealing NBA players believe Thomas was, “done wrong” by the Celtics.
“Players within the league, they felt like Isaiah Thomas was done wrong,” Haynes states, adding that he helped recruit players to the Celtics after management asked him to do so.
“He did everything that was asked of him to try to improve the Boston Celtics,” says Haynes. After being traded suddenly, “it rubbed players the wrong way.”
Haynes doesn’t specify which players are upset, indicating he likely spoke to them under the condition of anonymity. However, former NBA and Boston Celtics player Ray Allen called the Celtics “disloyal” in response to an Instagram post made my Caron Butler. And for what its worth, Thomas appears to agree in the same post:
Haynes makes it clear that few question the move from a basketball standpoint. Most agree Irving is a better point guard the Thomas, and that ultimately, the NBA is a business.
But Allen and others are upset over the hypocrisy of slamming players for signing with other teams but not criticizing owners for trading players loyal to the team.
And it was clear Thomas wanted to stay in Boston. Roughly two weeks before the trade, Thomas stated, “Boston knows where my heart is at. I would love to be back. I would love to be here for years to come.”
Thomas acknowledged the league is a business, and that both sides have to do what’s best for them. For Thomas, however, it was staying in Boston.
These grievances come after a video surfaced of Celtics fans burning Thomas’ jersey. The video prompted LeBron James and others to denounce the behavior:
Its easy to examine the trade as a neutral. Thomas is 28, Irving is 25. Thomas enters the last year of his contract with injury concerns related to his hip. With another All-Star season, he will ask for max money. If Boston was unwilling to pay him that kind of money, trading him for his replacement is reasonable.
But Allen and other players are right to point out the double standard of rarely criticizing front offices. Trading loyal star players can’t be viewed as business decisions when players signing for other teams are viewed as disloyal.
Given the timing and circumstances of the trade, this saga is far from over, and more will likely be said before the Celtics and Cavaliers face off on opening night.