Former Boston Celtics MVP candidate unlikely to be rotation mainstay anymore

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Seven
Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Seven / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

MassLive's Brian Robb doesn't believe former Boston Celtics MVP candidate Isaiah Thomas is going to be a rotation mainstay at this stage of his career following the five-foot-nine messiah's debut with the Phoenix Suns on March 20; a debut that saw him amass an assist and miss his only shot in two minutes of garbage time.

"Thomas ended up playing in two minutes, putting up one assist while going 0-for-1 from the field," Robb wrote. "As expected, at this point in his career, Thomas is unlikely to become a rotation mainstay. But there’s plenty he can bring behind the scenes, and he can still get buckets quickly."

Robb does see Thomas serving as a veteran locker room presence whose wisdom and experience serve more of a purpose to a team than his actual on-court contributions.

"Part of Thomas’ strengths, too, can be as a veteran presence in the locker room," Robb prefaced before saying, "He’s played plenty of NBA games throughout his career and he’s been a well-liked presence on all of his teams. Thomas played in Phoenix as part of the 2014-15 season, though he was soon traded to the Celtics that year."

Isaiah Thomas would be perfect ring-chaser with Boston Celtics next season

Should the Celtics pull it off this spring, there will be plenty of teams looking to sign away Boston's role players. Xavier Tillman and Luke Kornet have the most cash-out potential, but don't discount Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk or even J.D. Davison getting better offers elsewhere.

While Thomas would come with a higher cost as a veteran, he'd also be a valuable addition as a ring-chaser next season. Even if he never played a minute, the love between the player and the franchise was evident when Thomas returned to the G-League in early March.

“It’s real love -- you know, that Boston love is real,” Thomas told reporters, per The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn (h/t NESN). “No matter what happened in the past, all those guys communicate with me still. I’m always locked in on Celtics games. That was big part of my life. That was a really important, important time in my life as well. So it’s always going to be love for everybody that’s in that organization and was a helping hand to me and my family.”

One final ride in Boston for Thomas just feels right. It didn't make sense in 2023-24, but in the future, it definitely does.