Isaiah Thomas’ recruitment of Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant won’t stop with one tweet.
Durant is set to hit free agency this summer for the first time in his career, and Thomas plans to “do everything (he) can” to convince the former NBA MVP to sign with his Boston Celtics.
“I definitely want to give him some time,” Thomas told The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach on Sunday. “I know that was a tough series and a long season for him. I wouldn’t want anyone calling me up about the biggest decision of my life right after the season’s over. So I’ll probably give him some time and casually talk to him, and then go all-in.
“… I mean, do everything I can to get him to sign, somehow, someway, hopefully.”
Thomas’ offseason recruiting pitch started mere hours after the Golden State Warriors eliminated Durant and the Thunder in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals. The point guard tweeted — and later deleted — a not-so-subtle message: Durant’s No. 35 followed by a shamrock emoji.
“I just wanted the world to know, that’s who I’m trying to get,” he told Himmelsbach. “… I just thought it was something nice to do for the world to see. But I didn’t think it was going to be as big as it got.”
The Celtics have reached the playoffs in each of Thomas’ first two seasons with the team, but they have yet to advance past the first round, getting swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers last postseason and falling to the Atlanta Hawks in six games last month. Boston took a positive step forward last week by locking up coach Brad Stevens and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to long-term contracts, but it will need to add a star — or stars — to its roster if it hopes to make the leap from playoff participant to title contender.
Durant certainly would fit that bill.
“I need more,” Thomas told Himmelsbach. “I want my team to not just make the NBA Finals but go further in the playoffs. It’s killing me that we had an early exit, but I’m using it as motivation to get back in the gym and work even harder. We know we can compete with the best, so we’ve got to do it.”
Thumbnail photo via Sam Sharpe/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) during the first half of the game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena.