Since the Celtics traded away point guard Isaiah Thomas during the 2017 offseason, there’s been no shortage of speculation about and hope of him returning to Boston. Even after five years away from the team, Thomas is still passionate about the franchise and the city, and has made it known he’d be open to the idea.
During an appearance on Toucher & Rich in February, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens – who was the head coach during Thomas’ time in Boston – mentioned he’s kept in touch with Thomas since his departure from the Celtics in 2017. “I love Isaiah. I’ve talked to Isaiah ever since he left,” answered Stevens when asked about bringing in the then-free agent to fill one of the team’s five open roster spots at the time. “He’s just a special guy, he’s a special person…so, that’s my answer to that.”
The topic came up again while Thomas, who is currently with the Charlotte Hornets on a 10-day contract, was speaking to the media ahead of the Celtics’ matchup with the Hornets Wednesday night. In answering the question, Thomas was as candid as he’s been on where things stand between him and his former team.
Isaiah Thomas on a reunion in Boston: "I've opened my arms to try and come back in so many ways... I've felt there's been times where Brad [Stevens] could make a call and give me an opportunity and it hasn't happened" pic.twitter.com/uYTHHF98IE— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) March 8, 2022
“I mean, I’ve tried to have conversations about that. But, you know, it’s – I don’t know. It’s hard to speak on because I’ve opened my arms to try to come back in so many ways,” Thomas explained, when asked if the discussions between he and Stevens have included the idea of him returning to the Celtics.
Half a decade and multiple injuries later, Thomas knows he may not be able to recapture the magic of the 2016-2017 season when he scored 28.9 points per game leading the Celtics to 53 wins, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. Still, he views himself as a potential valuable addition to the team.
“It’s not even about playing and trying to pick up where I left off. Like I’m past that moment,” he noted. “But I know there’s been times where I can help in that locker room. I’m not in there every day, so I can’t speak on what’s going on – this is from the outside looking in, but I felt there’s been times where Brad [Stevens] could make a call and give me an opportunity, and it hasn’t happened.”
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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.