Pierce to Ainge: I.T. 'punked you' on video tribute

Pierce to Ainge: I.T. 'punked you' on video tribute

So, as Video Tributegate rages on, word comes that Paul Pierce talked to Danny Ainge and together they agreed not to have a video tribute in honor of Isaiah Thomas on Feb. 11, the day Pierce's Celtics' No. 34 is retired at TD Garden after a game with Thomas' Cavs.

Pierce told ESPN's Jackie MacMullan and Chris Forsberg that Ainge's guilt over how Thomas' trade to the Cavaliers unfolded led to the Celtics ceding to I.T.'s wishes. Thomas said that, because he wasn't playing and because his family wasn't in attendance, he didn't want the tribute on the night of his first return to the Garden, Jan. 3, and instead asked it be held on his second trip, Feb. 11.

"Danny tried to sell me on it, but I told him, 'He had a shot, Danny, and he punked you on it. He pretty much dictated everything,' " Pierce told ESPN. "They let it happen because they felt sorry how [the trade] went down. It's guilt. That's what it is."

Pierce said he had a 40-minute discussion with Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations, about the flap over the competing tributes. 

"Danny and I talked about it for 40 minutes," Pierce told ESPN. "He told me, 'This is what we have planned,' and at the end of the conversation, he said, 'If you don't want us to do Isaiah, we won't.' So I told him, 'I really don't.' So that was it."

The result was this Thomas' tweet on Monday night. Incidentally, Feb. 11 is the Cavs' last regular-season visit to Boston.

In addition, Forsberg reports that an I.T. tribute won't come in playoffs if the two teams meet. So, it's on to 2019 for I.T.'s big moment at the Garden.

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Reports: Cavs players aren't happy with roster

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Reports: Cavs players aren't happy with roster

As the Cavaliers fall further and further behind the Celtics, it appears there's some internal grumbling that the problems that have led to eight losses in their past 10 games aren't fixable with Cleveland's current roster.

Multiple reports indicate that a number of "prominent" Cavs  (and there's no more prominent player in the NBA than LeBron James) shared those thoughts with ESPN, Cleveland.com and TheAthletic.com.

After their loss to the NBA-champion Golden State Warriors Monday night in another Finals rematch, the third-place Cavs have dropped 7 1/2 games behind the Celtics and 3 1/2 behind the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference.

The complaints are a clear message to management that a change will be necessary at the trade deadline and, according to Cleveland.com, the offseason acquisition of Isaiah Thomas isn't going over too well. Thomas, who was out until Jan. 2 while he recovered from hip surgery after he was acquired from the Celtics in the Kyrie Irving trade, is shooting 36 percent and is averaging almost as many turnovers (2.4) as assists (3.4). But it's his defense that's hurting the Cavs more. Here's what Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon reported a "league source" told him:

“Rotations are awful. IT is so much worse than Kyrie defensively it’s insane. There is not a great feeling anywhere. They need to limp into the All-Star break and get away from each other.”

Meanwhile, the guy Thomas was traded for has led the Celtics to an East-leading 34-10 record and become a leading MVP candidate.

WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. New Orleans Pelicans

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WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics host the Pelicans at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview:  C's depth will be tested by New Orleans big men

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

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