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Cleveland Cavaliers Introduce Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder & Ante Zizic

Source: Jason Miller / Getty

The trade.

Kyrie Irving goes to the Boston Celtics. Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick next year, and the Miami Heat’s second-round pick in 2020 go to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was a blockbuster trade that no one was expecting. After all, who asks to be traded away from LeBron James? And after three straight final appearances, no less? But Kyrie did, and Bron Bron ended up with a new point guard in Isaiah Thomas.

But the real story— Thomas’ rise in the ranks— began during the 2016-17 season when he became the pride of the Boston Celtics. “Best year of my career, worst year of my life,” is how Thomas describes it in a new interview with Sports Illustrated. He and the Celtics were No. 1 in the East, but his 22-year-old sister, Chyna, died in a car accident on April 15, the day before Game 1 of the first round in the playoffs. It hurt for him to play, but he did it anyway.

“We made the Celtics cool again,” Thomas says of being able to bring Al Horford and Gordon Hayward on board. But he’d never get a chance to play with the latter due to the bizarre trade. His new focus is on getting healthy and making the Cavaliers deep enough to beat the Celtics and meet the Golden State Warriors in the finals for the fourth time in a row.

He also revealed that he may never speak to Celtics GM Danny Ainge ever again following the surprise trade.

“Boston is going to be all love,” he promised. “I might not ever talk to Danny again. That might not happen. I’ll talk to everybody else. But what he did, knowing everything I went through, you don’t do that, bro.”

Read the rest of Thomas’ Sports Illustrated interview here.