The way his NBA career went, former Celtics All-Star, Isaiah Thomas, has one of the most tragic stories in the NBA.
Since the formation of the duo of Jays, after drafting Tatum in 2017, the Celtics haven’t missed a single Playoff season. But this hang of Playoffs only became possible by the foundation laid by the 5’9 point guard Isaiah Thomas.
The former Kings guard came to Boston and led them to the first place finish in the East for the first time after 9 years in the 2016-17 season in his first full season at the franchise.
He also led them to their first Conference Finals appearance that postseason, which would be the Celtics’ first one in 5 years. They just fell short against the reigning champions, LeBron James’ Cavaliers. What followed that is arguably the most heart-breaking story of the NBA.
Isaiah Thomas is the only player among the 35 All-NBA selections of the last 6 years to never sign a $20 million/year deal
Thomas had two-straight All-Star seasons in which he led Cs to the two ECFs, averaging 22.2p/3r/6.2a in the first full season and 28.9/2.7/5.9 in the second.
Isaiah Thomas’ run with the Celtics was unforgettable.
Definition of heart over height. pic.twitter.com/CeIwnFYROs
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 19, 2020
He was making just $6.8 million that year and was due a massive paycheck the next season for making that astonishing run through the 2017 Playoffs while going through a hip injury and his sister’s death.
The All-NBA man was expecting a 5-year max deal while Boston was willing to give him a 3-year $100 million. That wasn’t less by any stretch, but it was a certain disrespect to a 28-year-old who just averaged almost 29 points and 6 assists in a season.
Celtics’ unwillingness to give the man what he deserved, mainly because of his injury, led them to trade him out to the Cleveland Cavaliers and that 2016-17 season’s contract would be the max he would get in his career.
That’s the least any All-NBA player of the last six years has made by at least $14 million.
There has been nothing more tragic in the NBA. A star of the top basketball league who easily deserved $35-40 million a year ended up earning a total career sum of $35 million.