There will be plenty of hoopla Wednesday night at TD Garden. But (most) of it won’t involve Isaiah Thomas.
The Cleveland Cavaliers confirmed Thomas won’t play against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday after making his season debut Tuesday against the Portland Trail Blazers. And for anyone hoping to see the point guard get honored in his first game back in Boston since joining the Cavs this summer anyway, well, they’ll have to wait.
The Celtics won’t play a video tribute to Thomas on Wednesday night at Thomas’ own request, the team’s public relations staff told reporters Tuesday. According to the C’s, they’ll run a tribute to Thomas on a future date.
It makes sense why Thomas wouldn’t want to be honored in a game he’s not even participating in. But this situation also could put the Celtics in a tricky spot. Cleveland’s only other game in Boston this season is Feb. 11 — the same day the C’s plan to retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 jersey in a pregame ceremony. That means TD Garden might have to double up by having Pierce, one of the most iconic Celtics in franchise history, share his special day with Thomas.
Boston’s other option, of course, is to wait, either running Thomas’ tribute later this spring should the two teams meet in the playoffs or hold off until the 2018-19 season. But the former plan seems like a risky proposition, while the latter feels like too long of a wait to honor a player who had a truly historic run in Boston over the last three-plus seasons.
Jae Crowder likely is on board with his teammate declining a video tribute, though: The Cavs forward said Tuesday he hopes to receive a warm welcome from the Garden faithful Wednesday, and with the spotlight now off Thomas, he should get his wish.
Thumbnail photo via David Richard/USA TODAY Sports Images