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The on-again, off-again tribute video for Isaiah Thomas presented by the Boston Celtics has returned to off-again status.
The Cleveland Cavaliers guard was traded by Boston along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, Brooklyn’s unprotected 2018 first-round draft pick and Miami’s second-round choice in 2020 in exchange for Kyrie Irving.
Thomas asked the Celtics to not show a video tribute of him when he and the Cavaliers return to TD Garden on Feb. 11 because Boston had scheduled that night to retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 jersey.
Pierce has not been shy about voicing his objections to a tribute being paid to Thomas on “his night,” going as far to tell Celtics head of basketball operations Danny Ainge he wanted to have that day all be about him.
“Danny and I talked about it for 40 minutes,” Pierce said on ESPN Tuesday. “He told me, ‘This is what we have planned,’ and at the end of the conversation, he said, ‘If you don’t want us to do Isaiah, we won’t.’ So I told him, ‘I really don’t.’ So that was it.
“That’s how we left it.”
Thomas, who has only recently returned to competition after a seven-month layoff to rehabilitate a torn labrum in his right hip, was slated to have a tribute made to him when the Cavaliers visited Boston back on Jan. 3.
However, Thomas, who had spent two and a half seasons as a Celtic, being named an All-Star twice and leading the Eastern Conference in scoring a year ago at 28.9 points per game, was not going to play that night and requested the Celtics to not recognize him with a tribute because he wanted members of his family to be on hand to witness it.
“(Thomas) had a shot to be honored,” Pierce said. “You came to Boston. Whether you are playing or not, you should have had your tribute then. I just don’t see how, if someone is having a jersey retirement, they’re going to be running other tributes for other players.
“Danny tried to sell me on it, but I told him, ‘He had a shot, Danny, and he punked you on it. He pretty much dictated everything.’ They let it happen because they felt sorry how (the trade to Cleveland) went down. It’s guilt. That’s what it is.”
Ainge stressed to ESPN neither he nor Thomas wanted to draw any attention for Pierce being honored.
“I wanted to make it clear that it was never my intention or Isaiah’s intention to take away from the special day for Paul Pierce,” Ainge said. “And no one was ever comparing I.T. to Paul Pierce. We all owe Paul a lot. Everyone in the organization.”