It's funny, I'd just been celebrating.
When I got the call from Danny, I was leaving the airport — my wife, Kayla, and I were coming back from having celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary. We'd gone to Miami for a couple of days — and now we were back in Seattle, driving home.
I missed the call, must have been doing something in the car. Danny left a text. "IT, call me when you can."
Sounds dramatic, but that's actually a pretty normal text from Danny. Could've been about all sorts of things. So I called him back, still driving and not really thinking much of it. He knew I'd been on my trip, so he asked me a few questions about it. I'm sure I asked him how he was, maybe how the family was doing. Again, you know, just that normal sort of talk.
And then somewhere in there, it was just like... it was barely anything. This little pause in the conversation. And that's when he told me. "I just traded you."
Simple as that. No big words, no big speech. Though I guess when it comes to shit like that, there's not much more to say.
"To where." That's all I could manage. "To the Cavaliers, for Kyrie."
And that's when, like — man. You ever been on the phone, and someone says something... and then all of a sudden, all you can think about after is, I don't want to be on the phone anymore! Not even in a rude way. Just, like, your willpower to have a conversation shuts down. That's what it was like for me in that moment.
Man... so much was going through my head in that moment. But I almost needed to block it out for the time being. My first instinct was to figure out what this would mean for my family. I thought about my two sons, James and Jaiden, and having to tell them that it was time to move.
I knew it was going to come as a shock to them — first, with it being right before the start of the school year. And second, knowing how much Boston had started to feel like a home to them. To all of us.
I told them what had happened: Dad got traded.
James, my oldest — I guess he really is his father's son, because he asked the same first question I did. "To where?"
"Cleveland. They traded me for Kyrie." And I'm pretty sure you know what came next. "LEBRON! LEBRON JAMES! Dad — Dad. You get to play with LeBron James!"
Jaiden, though, he's my little guy, maybe a little more sensitive — and he loves Boston more than anyone. So I knew the news was potentially going to be more hurtful for him. And just looking at his reaction, when he heard, I could tell I was right. He seemed kind of heartbroken.
I said, "Jaiden, are you happy or are you sad?" "Sad." "Why?" And he said, "Because Cleveland probably doesn't have skate parks."
A few hours later, it was all over the news. All my social media was blowing up. I must have had a thousand messages, and seen a thousand reactions.
Everything about that trade, everything that I was feeling in my heart in those moments — they got it down to the only two things that mattered.
One, as my oldest said it: "LeBron James." Or put another way — 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.
And two, as my youngest said it: "Sad." Or put another way — man, man, am I going to miss this city.
Man, I am going to miss being a Celtic.
But yeah, I'll just say it: That shit hurt. It hurt a lot. And I won't lie — it still hurts.
But at the end of the day, these deals just come down to one thing: business. So it's no hard feelings on that end. I'm a grown man, and I know what I got into when I joined this league — and so far it's been more blessings than curses.
Plus, in a lot of ways, I actually think this was a good lesson. Not only for me, but for the league as a whole. And for the fans and the media, too, you know, just in terms of how they talk about guys changing teams.
I was thinking about that last year with KD and his free agency — about how people gave him such a hard time for doing what he felt was best for him and his future.
How they turned him into a villain, just for doing what was his right to do as a free agent in this league.
Just being honest, but — to me, that says a lot about where we are as a league, and even as a society. And it says a lot about how far we still have to go.
And like I said, there's no hard feelings. But I just hope that the next time a player leaves in free agency, and anybody wants to jump on him or write a critical story or a nasty tweet about him, maybe now they'll think twice.
Maybe they'll look around the league, look at a case like mine, and remember that loyalty — it's just a word. And it's a powerful word if you want it to be.
But man... when it comes to business, it ain't nothing to count on.
And so when I say this hurts, man — just know that it isn't because of anything anyone else did. It's only because of something I did. I fell in love with Boston.
The Boston Celtics let me have a chance to be great. And I'll never forget that.
This was the first place, the first organization, the first group of fans in the league that didn't take one look at me, take one look at my size, and put me into the same role as always.
And that's why, you know — people ask me a lot about the playoffs last year. About how, even after my sister Chyna passed, I still went out there in Game 1 vs. Chicago and played.
When I arrived at the arena that night, after Chyna had passed — I was thinking, O.K., I just need that to happen. I need this court to be my shield tonight, I need this court to help me forget.
But when I got out there?
Man, it's one of those things... I can't even describe it. The applause that I got, I can still hear it. People had these signs they made, and I can still see them: THIS IS FOR CHYNA. WE <3 ISAIAH. That sort of thing. Then they did a moment of silence, the whole arena, in Chyna's honor.
伙计，这是我所无法描述的事情之一。我得到的掌声，我现在仍能听到。人们打出的标语，我现在仍能看到：这是为了希娜，WE <3 ISAIAH。随后他们默哀了一段时间，整个球馆，为了希娜。
And it was like... man. I just realized, in that moment, that I didn't need the court to shield me. I didn't need to block it all out, and pretend I wasn't grieving. I didn't have to be alone in this. The whole arena was right there with me.
Honestly, it felt like the whole city of Boston was with me.
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.
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.
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 D. Rose, and my guy Jae? This roster, man — it's just stacked. Cavs fans, let's get ready to rock and roll.
Of course, being on the team the East runs through now... I won't lie, it's some mixed emotions. Because that was our goal in Boston for so long — get through the Cavs, and win the East. And I know that's still Boston's goal.
But now, it's like, I'm the one who has to stop them from reaching it
And come playoffs, all of a sudden, it'll be like, O.K., now destroy it. It's sad, man. It's just sad.
But I didn't come to Cleveland to lose.
Like I said, when the trade news broke, I got a lot of messages. They had my texts, IG, Twitter, voicemail, you name it, just blowing up. But there was one message in particular, out of all of them, that really stuck with me. It was from Tom Brady.
What's up, IT, I heard about the news. You good? I'm alright. I mean, it's crazy. It's a cold game. Yes it is. Best of luck. You're gonna do great. Keep in touch.
To be getting a personal message like that from someone like Tom, who is such a Boston sports legend... I mean, it was bittersweet.
At first, honestly, it stung a little. I look at a career like Tom's with the Patriots — and that's exactly the kind of career that I had hoped to be building here with the Celtics:
Being this low draft pick... coming in without acclaim... and then — through hard work, and determination, and some talent that maybe people had overlooked — just starting to win, and win, and win.
And then establishing a legacy of winning. And then staying in Boston, winning titles and competing like hell, for the rest of my career — until I was considered one of the all-time Boston greats.
That's the career that I had started to map out for myself. In my mind, I wanted to be the Celtics version of Brady and Ortiz. I wanted this next era of Celtics basketball to go down in history — and I wanted to go down in Boston sports history with it.
But then I thought about the text some more... and I think I changed my perspective a little.
I think I realized that, like, Yo — that's Tom Fucking Brady. And I was only here for two and a half years. Tom Brady isn't sending a text like that to guys who played in Boston for only two and a half years — unless they did something very special.
So maybe, I don't know... maybe that's something to be proud of. And maybe, my time here... even if, in the end, I guess it wasn't quite what I'd dreamed it would be — maybe it still meant something to some people.
So I guess that's where my head's at right now. I'm still hurting, and I'm still sad to go. And I'm sure I'll be missing my Celtics family for quite some time.
But I'm just going to go to Cleveland now, and do what I do. I'm going to play my guts out. It might not be the career that I dreamed of having last year, or even last month — but when you think about it, that's kind of been my career from the start. It's never been the dream come true, and it's never been what you expect.
It's just been me.
And maybe that's the answer to all of this, you know what I'm saying? Like, yeah, I'll never be Tom Brady now. And I'll never be David Ortiz. I'll never be Bill Russell, or Paul Pierce, or Kevin Garnett, or Larry Bird.
But whether I would have without this trade, or I wouldn't have — I still like to imagine one thing.
I like to imagine that sometime not long from now, somewhere in Boston, someone is going to be a parent, talking basketball to their kid. And their kid is going to ask them, point-blank like kids do, you know, "Yo — why you become a Celtics fan?"
And that parent, man, they're going to think back to themselves — really think on it. And then they're going to smile, and tell the truth.
"I saw Isaiah Thomas play."
That would make me very happy. For me, I think, that'd be enough.