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.
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