Thomas is now employed by the Denver Nuggets, the team that clinched its first playoff spot in six years with a 114-105 victory over the Celtics. But Thomas still yearns for Boston. “Why not? If the opportunity presents itself … that would mean everything to me,” Thomas said. “The Nuggets organization has taken me in with open arms and given me an opportunity to work my way back in my own time. I’m open to any and everybody, but if that [Boston] opportunity is there, why not?”
Storyline: Isaiah Thomas Free Agency
During the first timeout, Thomas finally received his long-awaited video tribute. On the Jumbotron, the Celtics showed footage of him leading his team through the playoffs, discussing the emotions after his sister’s death, and connecting with Bostonians off the court. As the short video ended, the camera panned to Thomas, who pointed at his wrist, just like he used to as a Celtics player whenever he was taking over the fourth quarter of a game. He grew emotional as the standing ovation for him continued, slapping the scorer’s table in appreciation of all the love. “That was special,” Thomas said later. “I wish my family was here to see that. I was emotional. I almost cried. … That was everything.”
If his return to Boston hadn’t been an occasion, Thomas likely wouldn’t have played Monday night. He was relatively ineffective over almost seven first-half minutes, going 0 for 2 from the field while registering a team-worst minus-8. He didn’t appear again in the second half but still latched on to the crowd’s adoration. “Especially for not being able to be in a situation where I’m playing (consistently) right now,” he said, “this type of love is something that I wanted, that I needed.”