by Matt George – Sports 1140 KHTK Reporter
Offensive point guard sensation Isaiah Thomas was all over the news last night, making his debut with the Cleveland Cavaliers after missing the first half of the season with an injury. The fan-favorite “little guard who could” has been at the center of a lot of controversy and conversation in 2017, after being traded by the Boston Celtics, the team he had given his all for in the playoffs despite being hurt and the tragic death of his sister.
In just 19 minutes of action on his debut, Thomas scored 17 points, shot 50% from the field, and dished out three assists. The Cavaliers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 127-110. Cleveland fans are hopeful that Thomas can be the missing piece the Cavs need to defeat the Golden State Warriors in what is expected to be the NBA Finals match up for the 4th straight year.
Absolutely none of this has to do with the Sacramento Kings, the team that initially drafted Thomas with the last pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. But you wouldn’t know it based off Kings fans’ emotional and psychological meltdown every time the five-nine guard’s name is mentioned.
After showing multiple flashed of his all-stardom to come, the Sacramento Kings elected to trade Thomas because he didn’t fit their “ideal point guard” mold. So, he was moved to the Phoenix Suns for cash and the rights to forward Alex Oriakhi. Who? Exactly.
“Just imagine what the Kings could have been if they kept Isaiah Thomas with DeMarcus Cousins. They even had Hassan Whiteside too!”
Hindsight is 20-20. And no, that’s not a cop-out answer and unnecessary cliché. Every franchise in the history of professional sports has made moves that, looking back, appear to be mistakes. The Isaiah Thomas story is just another rung on that ladder.
It’s the 2002 Kings vs Lakers playoff series all over again in Sacramento. An event of the past, where the hope of a franchise is demolished by the unpredictable happenings in sports that we all love and hate so much. Everyone else has moved on and gotten over it. So why can’t Kings fans?
Isaiah himself has zero bad blood for the city of Sacramento, the Kings organization, and the fans that supported him since day one. He showed as much on twitter when the Cavaliers were in town just last week.
You think the Phoenix Suns, who quickly let Thomas go after acquiring him from Sacramento, don’t regret that decision? They appear to have taken the heat, swallowed their pride, and moved on with the pieces they have. Even the Boston Celtics, who may very well have to face Thomas and the Cavs in the playoffs, have reason to regret letting the all-star go.
It will be four years this July since the Kings traded Thomas away. Four years of “what if?”, “what the hell?”, and “why?”
After the last three losses that the Kings have faced, Kings fans are back in the doom and gloom of the regular season roller coaster.
It’s hard to see things that were once in Sacramento succeed after leaving. It seems like, more often than not, leaving the Kings is the first step to success. That perspective was built on the broken hearts of Sacramento fans, taken to new heights by the local and national media, and molded into a giant paper bag that many in California’s capital wish they could hide under.
The reality is that the Kings organization is, and has been for some time, trying to move on. They aren’t content with pouting and whining about the past. Vlade Divac is not blaming Pete D’Alessandro for making his job harder. He is working to build something new, that can end the long playoff drought and re-light the fire within the best fan base in the NBA.
All we can do is wait and see how his efforts fare, and if our patience will pay off. But as for Isaiah Thomas in a Sacramento Kings jersey, get over it.