Danny Ainge’s wholesome text to NBA insider about Isaiah Thomas joining Phoenix Suns

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas has found his way back into the NBA, and Danny Ainge responded with a heartfelt text about the player he has a long history with.

Thomas reportedly is about to sign a 10-day contract with the Phoenix Suns after a brief stint in the G League that was set up by Ainge, who is now an executive with the Utah Jazz.

“I got a great text statement from Danny Ainge over the weekend,” NBA insider Shams Charania said. “Obviously their relationship, when Isaiah Thomas got traded from Boston, we know there was a little bit of a grudge held there. There was a little bit of a cold stint in that relationship.

“Then Danny Ainge brings Isaiah Thomas back to the Utah Jazz organization. He plays with the Salt Lake City Stars that leads to this call-up now.

“Danny Ainge told me, ‘He’s special, as driven as anyone I know. He made a difference to everyone he was around in 10 short days in the G League. I couldn’t be happier for him. Good pickup by the Suns.'”

The 35-year-old is heading back to the NBA, where he once was a two-time All-Star for the Boston Celtics while Ainge was their general manager. But following the 2016-17 NBA season, when Thomas finished fifth in NBA MVP voting, Ainge traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the deal that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston.

At the time, Thomas was expectedly upset with Ainge, but the two reportedly worked out at least some of their issues within the following year.

Thomas played just 15 games for the Cavs and was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Diminished by a hip injury he suffered while with the Celtics, he bounced around the league after that, playing for five more teams plus another stint with the Lakers. He last played in the NBA for the Charlotte Hornets near the end of the 2021-22 season.

He’ll now be back in the league with the Suns — where he played the 2014-15 season — as they look for a strong finish to the regular season and another long playoff run. He earned the opportunity by averaging 32.5 points, 5.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals in four G League games after joining Salt Lake City in a deal set up by Ainge.

At his peak, Thomas helped the Celtics reach the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals. Though Thomas is far removed from those days, the Suns have to be hopeful that he can provide some veteran leadership plus a spark on the court as needed.

Thomas reportedly has not yet signed his 10-day contract, and the Suns are not back in action until Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers. So, it remains unknown when Thomas will officially cap his long journey and play in his first NBA game in almost two full years.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.