Isaiah Thomas: Coming back to Celtics would make his story 'that much better'

Isaiah Thomas: Coming back to Celtics would make his story 'that much better'

Isaiah Thomas was, and still is, a beloved figure for the Boston Celtics fanbase.

Thomas, of course, was dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of the Kyrie Irving trade in 2017. It was a tough end to an incredible two-plus seasons in Boston for the veteran guard.

Injuries have prevented Thomas from getting back to the All-Star form he showed with the C's during the 2016-17 season, and he hasn't been able to earn a regular spot in the Denver Nuggets rotation this season. In fact, he was removed from the rotation last week by Nuggets head coach Michael Malone.

Thomas' future in the NBA beyond this season is unknown, but it sounds like he'd be open to coming back to Boston to finish his career if the chance came.

"At some point," Thomas told reporters before Monday night's Celtics-Nuggets game at TD Garden. "These were the most fun times in my career. I turned into a superstar here. The world knew my name when I played for the Boston Celtics. Not saying they don't now, but playing for Celtics changed my whole career on and off the floor. This city and this organization treated my family with 100 percent respect. Decisions happen, I never hold any  grudges against anybody, even if I'm not for that decision. 

"You never know what can happen. My options are always open no matter what it is. If I end up back here at some point, that would make the story that much better."

Thomas has struggled this season for Denver, but he's not feeling any ill-effects physically, and that's one reason why he's confident plenty of good times lay ahead for him as an NBA player.

"I just want a legit opportunity," Thomas said. "Whatever the role may be, it's gonna be. I know I can play at a high level again. Given the opportunity, I can be an All-Star, I can be all-NBA, I can be all that because physically I feel great. But it's all about the opportunity. If I get an opportunity, I'm going to be ready for it and take full advantage of it. When this summer comes, I'll figure out what's the best opportunity and situation for myself and my family and then go from there."

There's going to be a lot of emotion at TD Garden on Monday night, even if Thomas doesn't play. The Celtics will play a tribute video for him on the jumbotron during  the first quarter, and the crowd will give him a much-deserved ovation. 

Coming back to the Celtics, whether it's next season or down the road, would be a great way for Thomas to advance his career in an environment where he's going to feel plenty of love and support from the fans and the team. It's not a scenario that should be ruled out.

Click to read about Thomas' best moments as a Celtic>>>

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It's Tacko Time, all the time during NBA All-Star weekend

It's Tacko Time, all the time during NBA All-Star weekend

CHICAGO -- Hundreds of folks scattered throughout a cavernous room at the Navy Pier, had one thing in mind - to see Tacko Fall. 

Tacko, all 7-foot-5 (without shoes) of him, wasn’t hard to miss. 

Wherever he went during All-Star weekend, attention on him wasn’t too far behind. 

Tacko did not log a single minute of play during All-Star weekend, and yet Tacko, much like what happens in New England with the Boston Celtics and the Maine Red Claws, was the center of everyone’s attention. 

But during All-Star weekend, it’s different. 

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Here, Tacko is surrounded by some of the greatest basketball players of the past and present, players who have been stars for decades in some instances. 

Aaron Gordon and Derrick Jones Jr. waged one of the all-time great slam dunk contests, and all the talk afterward was how Gordon got robbed after he successfully dunked over Tacko. 

Before that, Tacko was a counselor with Basketball Without Borders. 

Upon entering the gym, some of the best teenage basketball talent internationally went through drills with Tacko around the rim, many of whom tried to dunk on Tacko instead of laying up shots. 

“It’s the most I’ve been dunked on in my career,” quipped Tacko. “But in a few years, hopefully a lot of them will make it to the NBA. We’ll see.”

When he arrived at the various All-Star weekend events, at times draped by repeat All-Stars like Kemba Walker, it was Tacko who received the loudest, unprompted ovation from fans. 

It was Tacko Time on the grandest stage of them all during the NBA season. 

While his height is certainly a factor in the adulation he receives, Tacko has won folks over with his gentle-giant demeanor, balanced with the overpowering presence that you expect from a player his size, with an almost child-like innocence to the demand that so many have these days of trying to get a little Tacko Time. 

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During an interview with NBC Sports Boston after he participated in a cooking show exhibition, he was relayed a request to meet up with former Celtic Rick Fox. 

“Yeah, sure,” Fall responded as he quickly ducked to best ensure he didn’t hit his head against a concrete structure. 

You can count Fox among the legion of fans who are caught up in Tacko-mania. 

“At the end of the day, it’s entertainment, right?” Fox told NBC Sports Boston. “We want fans to love what we do. We want to enjoy what we do. Tacko has endeared himself to not just Celtics fans but the NBA at large.”

And he has done it in atypical fashion when it comes to NBA fandom. 

Most fans jump on board after watching a player display skills on the floor that set them apart from the masses. 

Tacko’s fandom is largely based on his personality and how he has connected with fans even though he has not played much in the NBA. 

In fact, Tacko has played a total of six NBA games in this, his rookie season. 

And yet when the final fan votes were tallied for the All-Star game, Tacko finished sixth among all frontcourt players in the East - one spot behind his Celtics teammate Jayson Tatum. 

“Everybody loves Tacko,” Tatum told NBC Sports Boston. “Who doesn’t love Tacko?”

He’s right. 

But as much as Tacko appreciates the attention he has received from fans, he knows that ultimately it will be his play that determines his future in the NBA. 

That’s why there was a sense of relief on Tacko’s part when he didn’t move up into one of the top two spots among all-star voters which meant he would have been a starter in tonight’s game. 

“I was scared. It’s all fun and games and I was very appreciative of it,” Tacko said. “At the same time, there are so many people that deserve to be there. Just imagine if I were to go … I would not have felt good about that.”

Being an All-Star is something that’s not on Tacko’s radar now. 

First and foremost, he’s looking to take the next logical step which for him, will be to have his two-way contract with the Celtics converted to standard, 15-man roster deal. 

While it’s certainly something that Tacko’s camp and the Celtics will discuss during the off-season, whether a new deal gets done won’t change the fact that right now, it’s Tacko Time wherever Tacko Fall goes. 

And new deal or not, that’s not changing anytime soon. 

Celtics' Jayson Tatum reacts to seeing first NBA All-Star jersey: 'Now it's real'

Celtics' Jayson Tatum reacts to seeing first NBA All-Star jersey: 'Now it's real'

Jayson Tatum continues to soak up the experience of his first NBA All-Star Game selection.

The Boston Celtics forward stood in awe of his All-Star jersey and warmup jacket on Sunday in what made for a truly awesome video.

“Now it’s real. The warmup just got me," Tatum said.

Watch below:

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What a moment for the 21-year-old.

Tatum will suit up for Team LeBron and go up against Celtics teammate Kemba Walker, who will represent Team Giannis.

The NBA All-Star Game will tip-off at 8 p.m. ET.