Kyrie Irving didn’t want to play with LeBron James anymore. Isaiah Thomas can’t wait for the opportunity.
Thomas, who will be introduced to the local media at an 11 a.m. press conference today at Cleveland Clinic Courts that will also include former Boston teammates Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic and Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman and coach Tyronn Lue, posted a lengthy article on The Players’ Tribune website Wednesday that detailed his eagerness to play with the three-time NBA champion and four-time league MVP.
The 5-foot-9 point guard reiterated his love for Boston and how much he will miss the fans there, going so far as to say he’s still hurt by the trade, but can’t wait to get on the floor with James.
“I get to come over and join the best team in the East, and try to win a championship alongside the best basketball player in the world,” Thomas wrote.
The 28-year-old made no mention of when he would be able to return from a hip injury that sidelined him for the final three games of the Eastern Conference finals against the Cavs, but detailed how difficult it was to inform wife Kayla and sons James and Jaiden that the family would be moving.
Jaiden was sad because he didn’t think Cleveland had skate parks, but older son James quickly told Thomas, “LeBron! LeBron James! Dad — you get to play with LeBron James!”
“I’mma just say this here, point-blank, to get it over with — and then you can go ahead and post it on whatever bulletin boards you want to: You are not going to want to mess with the Cavs this year,” Thomas wrote. “This is going to be a great year to be a Cavs fan, a great year. And I’m excited.
“From a basketball perspective, me on the Cavs is a match made in heaven. If you’ve watched any Celtics games last year, then you know how many times I would have to go through double and even triple teams, just to get my shot off. It ended up working fine for us — guys played great, and my shot was falling. But this year … man, it’s not even going to be a thing. You really going to throw three guys on me, when I’m sharing a court with the best basketball player on the planet? Nah, I don’t think so.
“And that’s just LeBron,” continued Thomas, who averaged a career-high 28.9 points a game last season. “I look up and down this roster, and all I see is guys I can’t wait to play with. Kevin Love (reunited with my old AAU teammate!), Tristan Thompson, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert … it’s no accident to me that these guys have won the East three years running. And now add me to the mix, and (Derrick) Rose, and my guy Jae (Crowder)? This roster, man — it’s just stacked. Cavs fans, let’s get ready to rock and roll.”
Not long after that, Thomas added, “I didn’t come to Cleveland to lose.”
It’s back on
The Cavs are reviving a $140 million renovation of Quicken Loans Arena after announcing last week they had scrapped the project. The team also said it will extend its lease at the facility for seven more years, until 2034.
The Cavs had originally planned to upgrade The Q with more dining and meeting places, plus a glass front on the exterior, but community groups objected to the use of taxpayer money. The Cavs then canceled the renovation after a referendum petition threatened to delay the project.
The petition recently was withdrawn after Cuyahoga County officials promised to commit to mental health and substance abuse clinics, allowing renovation plans to move forward again. The Cavs plan to fund half the project, with the other $70 million to come from public funding.
The Cavs and owner Dan Gilbert are hoping to be awarded a future NBA All-Star Game, perhaps as early as 2020 or 2021.
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