At his introductory press conference in Cleveland on Thursday, Isaiah Thomas said all the right things about the team he was joining: how good they can be, how excited he is to be playing with LeBron James & Co., and so on.
This was the place that he appeared happy. Happy about moving forward and starting over.
It was Wednesday, when his article in The Players' Tribune was published, that he indicated that what happened to him — being traded from the Boston Celtics to the Cleveland Cavaliers — was something he didn't agree with.
One thing that stood out was his assessment that the trade — which also included Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, a 2018 first-round draft pick and a 2020 second-round draft pick in exchange for Kyrie Irving — didn't make the Celtics a better team.
At least one former executive agrees with him, to an extent.
"I do think that he's correct in the fact that Boston in the short term may not actually be better and I don't think it's just the function of this one trade," former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said on Thursday's edition of The Jump. "I think it's the function of an offseason in which they also moved Avery Bradley. Losing Bradley, Crowder and Isaiah is losing a lot of grit and overachievers that identified that team. So they've had so much change.
"I think they're going to be better in the long term, but I think in the short term you can make the argument that they're going to be worse."
One of the criticisms of Boston's offseason is that they won't be as good on defense this season. Losing Crowder hurts the Celtics on that end of the floor, as did the loss of Bradley, who a lot of people around the league thought should have been on one of the All-Defensive teams last season.
Thomas wrote in his article that while there were no hard feelings with what Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge did in the trade, he didn't think it was a good move from a basketball standpoint.
"It’s not that I don’t understand it. Of course I get it: This is a business. Danny is a businessman, and he made a business move," Thomas wrote. "I don’t agree with it, just personally, and I don’t think the Boston Celtics got better by making this trade. But that’s not my job. That’s Danny’s. And it’s a tough job, and he’s been really good at it."
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