Monday’s matchup between the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets isn’t just a game between two of the NBA’s top teams, it’s also a chance for the C’s to see old friend Isaiah Thomas.

Although Thomas won’t be playing as he continues to recover from hip surgery, he was a major topic of discussion during coach Brad Stevens’ pregame media availability.

Stevens had some lofty praise for Thomas, and he even discussed the trade that sent the point guard to the Cleveland Cavaliers and brought Kyrie Irving to Boston last offseason.

“That was a really hard time because there was never a thought that we would possibly have traded him,” Stevens said, via MassLive’s Tom Westerholm. “And then Kyrie became available.”

The trade shocked the NBA world, and it appears it even shocked Stevens. Regardless of the outcome, it appears there’s still plenty of love between the two.

There currently is no timetable for Thomas’ return.

Thumbnail photo via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images