WALTHAM — Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas’s trip to All-Star Weekend was a kind of busman’s holiday, as he tried to sell some fellow All-Stars on the perks of someday becoming a Celtic, perhaps as early as this summer.
“I definitely did some recruiting,” he said Thursday. “But I’m not going to tell y’all who though. I was talking to a lot of guys, a few guys. And they were talking to me back.”
Thomas said he received positive feedback from his fellow All-Stars.
“They love what Brad [Stevens] and the coaching staff is about,” he said. “Everybody had positive things to say about Brad and the coaching staff. And a couple of guys had questions.”
Stevens, meanwhile, was able to enjoy his first turn as the head coach of the Eastern Conference’s team.
“It’s an honor to be part of the festivities, an honor to be in the presence of the All-Stars, but also the great players of the past and everything else,” Stevens said. “It was an honor. Obviously the practices and games aren’t what I’m used to, probably, but I think it’s a great experience for not only me but our staff and all our families.”
Amid constant rumors, guesses, and reports surrounding the NBA trade deadline, basketball fans are now left to decipher the meaning of emojis.
On Monday night, Thomas posted a cryptic tweet that showed the popular “eyes” emoji. For the emoji illiterate — and it’s probably a simpler life being that way — this image is generally used to suggest that something has caught your attention or caught you by surprise.
And considering this was trade deadline week, Internet detectives everywhere concluded that this must mean something about a big deal being in the works. On Thursday afternoon, following the first Celtics’ practice since the All-Star break, Thomas smiled and threw some water on the conspiracy theories.
“I was watching a TV show, man,” Thomas said. “I don’t know what the emojis are about.”
Come on, Isaiah. Didn’t you know that Celtics fans everywhere were on edge and that they’d read into this and need to know more? Didn’t you know it’d blow up?
“I didn’t,” he said, smiling again. “I did it and I realized like, ‘What just happened?’ I didn’t mean to shake the Internet like that. I didn’t mean to do that to you all.”
Thomas said he had been waiting around for news just like everyone else, and he had no inside information. On Wednesday, he tweeted an emoji of an hourglass. What did that one mean?
“Time is ticking, man,” Thomas said.
Then, about an hour after his interview session and 20 minutes before the trade deadline, Thomas fired out one last emoji of a watch for good measure. That has become his signature emoji, as he points at his wrist to say “you know what time it is” when fourth quarters begin.
Guard Avery Bradley, who has missed 20 of the last 21 games because of a strained Achilles’ tendon, took part in a third of Thursday’s practice and told the staff he felt “really good” afterward.
But Bradley is not expected to play against the Raptors on Friday night. Forward Jaylen Brown, who missed the last three games with a strained hip flexor, took part in a full practice and is expected to be available against Toronto.
Backup wing Gerald Green missed practice because of lingering heel soreness and his status is unknown.