Isaiah Thomas was never the same after skyrocketing to league MVP candidacy through a sensational three-year run with the Boston Celtics that marked one of the organization’s most sentimental chapters.

Thomas, now seven years removed from his last game with Boston and 35 years of age, hasn’t called it quits on seeking an NBA roster spot. The two-time All-Star’s gone off in Drew League appearances and isn’t seeking a big-dollar payday. He has experience as the guy, previously averaging 28.9 points at the height of his career with the Celtics, and understands the pressures that come from a playoff atmosphere.

“My leadership alone would put this team over the hump!” Thomas claimed on the social media platform X on Friday. “I don’t even have to play a single minute. Just give me a jersey LOL.”

Despite what an “LOL” might insinuate, Thomas has eagerly awaited a chance to get back on an NBA floor. However, with the market currently not in demand for an aging undersized (5-foot-9) guard, Thomas hasn’t had much luck. Then again, that alone shouldn’t deter the Celtics from giving their once-No. 1 a phone call with the season reaching its end, ahead of the playoffs.

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Here are three reasons for Boston to consider a reunion with Thomas:

1.) Thomas wouldn’t cost much — at all
The Celtics don’t have a whole lot of financial flexibility due to the additions of Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday along with the offseason extensions given to Jaylen Brown ($304 million) and Payton Pritchard ($30 million). But… the organization does have an open roster spot, even after the trade deadline.

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Thomas could sign for the league minimum ($2.7 million) for the remainder of the season, and it wouldn’t harm the Celtics in any way, shape or form.

There’s no questioning how much the fanbase cherished what Thomas meant in a Celtics uniform, and those feelings are mutual on Thomas’ end too.

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“It’s hard to speak on because I’ve opened my arms to try to come back in so many ways,” Thomas told reporters in 2022, per NBC Sports Boston. “And it’s not even about playing or trying to pick up where I left off, I’m past that moment. But I know there’s been times where I can help in that locker room.”

Thomas added: “I love Boston. I love everything about the city of Boston and the people that have shown me the most love (are) obviously from Boston.”

2.) Joe Mazzulla values Celtics alumnus
Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla has hosted a handful of former Boston players, including welcoming Sam Cassell and Phil Pressey to the staff.

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It’s clear that the voices of those who stepped foot on Boston’s parquet hold some merit to the organization, and Thomas, who set a franchise record with 43 consecutive 20-plus-point performances in 2016-17, fits that very mold. There aren’t many players who accomplished what Thomas did with the Celtics, leading a much less talented roster to a No. 1 seed finish in the Eastern Conference ahead of the LeBron James, Kyrie Irving-led Cleveland Cavaliers powerhouse.

Thomas was vocal when needed, and has the first-hand experience of leading an underdog Boston squad throughout a full season. Even when the lights got a tad bit brighter in the postseason, Thomas didn’t fold — or lower his voice.

“It’s a wrap for these mother-(expletive),” Thomas shouted while leading the Celtics to a first-round victory over the Chicago Bulls in the 2017 playoffs.

The Miami Heat had Udonis Haslem fulfill a vocal leadership role through their recent trips to the finals, without any meaningful playing time required.

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3.) The door is open for a Cinderella ending
Isaiah Thomas never got the chance to play alongside Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. That vision died when Thomas was traded for Irving ahead of the 2017-18 season, which marked the start of a rollercoaster ride of finding the supporting cast to get Boston over the hump in the playoffs.

Now picture this: Thomas, with Tatum and Brown, showered with confetti at the end of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden. Coming full circle, is there a better ending to Thomas’ run in the NBA? No, there isn’t, and that vision is very much possible if Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens gives Thomas the call he’s awaited now for years.

From a sentimental perspective, it’d be cinematic and pull at the heartstrings of Celtics fans everywhere.

With an NBA-best 45-12 start and 25 games remaining before the hunt for Banner 18 begins, there’s still plenty of time for Thomas and the Celtics to work some last-minute magic together.

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Featured image via David Richard/USA TODAY Sports Images