Isaiah Thomas’ NBA career continues to put his father, James, in awkward situations with his rooting interests.
James is a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he made a concession in 2011 when his son was drafted by Sacramento.
But this time, it’s a lot deeper than a rivalry that peaked last decade.
Isaiah is a Boston Celtic, thanks to a trade from Phoenix right before the Feb. 19 deadline.
Now James will do the unthinkable and trade in his Lakers gear for Celtics gear – sometimes – according to Isaiah.
“He just bought a Boston hat,” Isaiah said. “He likes anywhere I’m at. He’s going to be a Laker fan – he’s from (Los Angeles) – but now he says he’s a Boston fan. Everybody in my family is going to get the green now.”
Isaiah is happy to go green, too. All the chatter about the Phoenix backcourt being crowded was sorted out when he and Goran Dragic were traded.
Isaiah landed with a team that has coveted him for some time. Being wanted eased the news he’d be on his third team in less than a year. He signed a four-year deal with Phoenix in the offseason and hoped that would be home.
So he was “surprised” to learn he’d be dealt, but not shocked by where he landed.
“I’ve known (Celtics basketball president) Danny Ainge has wanted me for a long time,” Isaiah said. “It was just surprising how it happened, so last minute. But I’m happy. Another team wanted me, and hopefully I can be here for a while and make things happen.”
Thomas has averaged 22.3 points and six assists in his first four games with Boston, which has won three in a row. And he has become a valuable late-game asset for the Celtics.
It has helped that Isaiah has a friend, Avery Bradley, on the Celtics. They’ve been pals since their AAU days.
Bradley reached out to Isaiah after the trade.
“He’s always told me that Danny Ainge wanted me,” Isaiah said. “I’ve heard that from him, my agent, everybody in the NBA, it feels like.”
Thomas said communication with Ainge started out well. Ainge reiterated his excitement to have Isaiah on the team.
“He’s wanted me since my days at (the University of) Washington,” Isaiah said. “Hopefully I can make an impact, and we can get to the playoffs.”
Isaiah, having dealt with the talk of who couldn’t fit in with Phoenix, said there would be no problem in Boston. He comes off the bench but believes he’ll blend in fine.
“I’ll fit in with anybody,” Isaiah said. “You’ve got a basketball and a hoop, and I’ll fit in. ”
Making the playoffs remains a goal for Thomas. The Suns were in contention, and the Celtics could play in the postseason.
Though Thomas loved his time in Sacramento, he never experienced the postseason. He’s not fretting over being in Boston, or the cold. He attended prep school in Connecticut and purchased a new coat to deal with the remainder of the winter back East.
“I’m just happy to be somewhere they appreciate me, and hopefully I can make the city fall in love with me,” Thomas said.
The Indiana Pacers entered the weekend eighth in the Eastern Conference.
The Pacers had plenty of reasons to give up their playoff hopes this season. Paul George suffered a serious leg injury last July. George Hill has missed a lot of time because of injury. Lance Stephenson left as a free agent.
But the Pacers have remained competitive. And with George due to return this month, Indiana could prove to be a tough first-round playoff opponent should it make the playoffs.
Frank Vogel might not win Coach of the Year, but he is doing one of the best jobs this season.
What’s wrong with the Washington Wizards?
Yes, Bradley Beal is injured, but they dropped six in a row before Saturday night’s victory over Detroit gave them their first win since the All-Star break. That includes a loss on Friday to Philadelphia, which has the second-worst record in the East.
Washington entered Saturday a half game ahead of upstart Milwaukee for the fifth seed in the East.
If the Wizards don’t find their way soon, they look destined for a brief stint in the postseason.
“I was just shaking my head like, ‘I can’t believe this.’”
Lakers coach Byron Scott on the over-the-top celebration by some of his players after an overtime win over Boston. The Lakers blew a lead in the final minute of regulation. They have won three straight games, including the game against Boston.