CLEVELAND – The Celtics reached out to the representatives of Isaiah Thomas recently, asking if he would be open to a video tribute chronicling his 2½ years with the club in his first game back at TD Garden Wednesday.
Thomas, who scored 17 points in his season debut Tuesday night with the Cavaliers, rejected the offer but told the Globe it had nothing to do with issues with the Celtics or the trade to Cleveland.
Because he is not allowed to play in back-to-back games due to his long layoff from a hip injury, Thomas will be in street clothes on the visiting bench Wednesday night. That’s not how he wanted to commemorate his return.
“It would be a special moment for my family to see that [tribute video],” Thomas said after Cleveland’s 127-110 victory over the Trail Blazers. “When my representatives talked to them, I felt like me being able to play and my family to see how loved we really were, that’s only right. And they respected that.”
The Cavaliers make one more appearance in Boston, on Feb. 11. Paul Pierce will have his jersey retired that day, but the ceremony will take place after the 3:30 p.m. game. Thomas thanked the Celtics for understanding his reasoning.
“The Celtics respected that and we’ll probably do it on the 11th,” Thomas said. “With my family there, I think my mom and dad will come, too. It will be a special night. Yeah, that’s good.”
Thomas has acknowledged his trade to the Cavaliers was hurtful because he gave so much to the Celtics and played two months through the painful hip injury that cost him the first 36 games of this season. But he said he has never had an issue with Celtics fans or his former teammates.
“It won’t be that tough because I know where I am right now and I wouldn’t want to put myself out there to try to force it,” Thomas said Monday about not playing against the Celtics. “I can wait until February and I can wait and put on a show then.
“I know it will be all love. I gave that city everything I had and they showed me genuine love back and I think that love is going to last forever.
“There’s no hard feelings. This is no revenge game. They know what they gave up. They know what they got. It’s all good. I’m focused on the Cleveland Cavaliers and trying to win a championship.”