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Isaiah Thomas is targeting a return (likely) against the Celtics and I’m not emotionally prepared

Oh the conflicted feelings we’ll have.

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like ages ago that Isaiah Thomas was the cornerstone of this franchise, but in reality it was just 4 months ago. He was so beloved in Boston that the mere mention of the possibility that he could be traded made me (and most Celtics fans) guffaw with disdain.

Yet here we are and there he is, fighting to return to the court to help the Cleveland Cavaliers. In fact, reports indicate that he’s targeting a return that happens to line up nicely with the Celtics game on January 3rd.

In a way, it has been easier for us to move on because Thomas has been out of sight and as a result mostly out of mind. No disrespect intended of course. Though who knows if he’ll use this post as some vague slight on his person and add it to the motivational fuel for his fire.

The winning streak and Kyrie Irving’s seamless integration into Brad Stevens’ system has been a wonderful salve for Celtics fans hurt by Isaiah’s exit.

Still, all those feelings from last Spring and Summer will come flooding back when we see Thomas bringing the ball up in Cavaliers colors.

As a fanbase we’re turning the page and enjoying the next era, but that doesn’t mean that Thomas has been forgotten or diminished. I think if you ask most fans, they’ll still get starry eyed and speak in reverent tones about Thomas’ exploits in the last couple of years.

Invariably the conversation turns to a comparison between Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas that is both understandable and unfair to both of them. You can layer in discussions about what the team “owed” to Thomas, what his value is going forward, and which team “won” the trade. All of which makes for either interesting conversation (when done right) or scorching hot takes (when done poorly).

Still, none of it changes the fact that Kyrie Irving is the new franchise point guard in town. He’ll forever be linked to Isaiah but he’s very clearly his own person and player.

It also doesn’t change the fact that it is going to be really, really weird to see Isaiah Thomas playing against the Boston Celtics. I don’t know exactly how I’ll feel when I see him but I predict my emotions are going to be running high.