LAS VEGAS -- When Isaiah Thomas left the Boston Celtics’ meeting with Kevin Durant, he had a feeling at the time that Durant was ready to make a change.
“I walked out thinking we had a chance at him,” Thomas recalled of the meeting with Durant this summer. “But I didn’t think he was going to go to Warriors; I definitely didn’t think that. But leaving that meeting, I had a sense he was leaving OKC.”
You can throw Thomas in the legion of basketball lovers who wasn’t happy with Durant’s decision.
“Yeah, I was upset,” Thomas said during Boston’s summer league game against Chicago on Saturday. “But at the same time, it was that man’s decision. I couldn’t do nothing about it but try to get him to come to Boston. I thought we did a hell of a job with what Danny (Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations) brought up and the guys in that room. He (Durant) really considered us; he had to. The meeting went really well.”
As well as it went, Thomas said it was definitely a different feeling compared to the Celtics meeting with Horford.
“I wrapped that one up,” Thomas said. “I just knew he was coming to Boston for sure.”
“I just knew,” said Thomas who added, “The way the meeting went. It was either you’re picking us or a few other teams that just didn’t fit. It only made sense to come. We’re a young team. We need a guy like him to come. And you can’t turn down as much money as he got.”
Horford signed a four-year, $113 million contract with the Celtics that includes a player opt-out after the third season.
Well before free agency began, Thomas knew selling Horford on Boston would be easy in part because Horford was already intrigued with the possibility of playing for the Celtics.
During All-Star weekend, Thomas said there was an All-Star who had been asking him about being in Boston. Thomas declined to reveal who that player was at the time, but on Saturday acknowledged that Horford had been the player who asked him about Boston.
Thomas said he wasn’t totally sure of just how interested Horford was at the time.
“I knew it was in the back of his head at least,” Thomas said. “When we got to meet with him face-to-face, I felt he kind of knew this was the direction he wanted to go in.”
A. Sherrod Blakely can be followed on Twitter: @SherrodbCSN