Former Sacramento King and notorious Pizza Guy Isaiah Thomas will make his playoff debut today when the Boston Celtics play the Cleveland Cavaliers in game one of their opening round series.
I’ve been through something similar once before, only then it was on a much larger scale.
My favorite athlete growing up was Boston Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque. Don’t worry, I’m going somewhere with this.
Bourque was one of, if not the best defenseman in NHL history. He was incredible on and off the ice.
The Bruins were solid for most of his prime, but I know the feeling in Boston was that the ownership group and front office at that time could never really build a contender around him. Bourque was a five time Norris Trophy winner, and his career was going to end without a Stanley Cup.
The Bruins finally traded Bourque in what I viewed as the most pathetic and thoughtful trade of all time. Bruins general manager Harry Sinden basically said, ‘We can’t win here, please go win somewhere else’ and that is exactly what Bourque did.
Bourque was traded to the Colorado Avalanche, and in the next season they won the Stanley Cup. Bourque brought the Cup into Boston for a rally that was attended by over 20,000 fans. Twenty thousand. Incredible.
Isaiah Thomas isn’t Ray Bourque, and the Boson Celtics aren’t winning the championship, but I think a similar sentiment is present.
The Sacramento Kings haven’t been able to build a contender of any kind for nine-straight seasons. Sacramentan’s have to live vicariously though players like Isaiah Thomas and Tyreke Evans to get their playoff fix. It’s not ideal, but it’s reality.
Isaiah Thomas was our hidden gem for three years. We knew how good he was, and we certainly knew his faults, but he was ours.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve had to say, “No, he’s really good” over the past several years in regards to Thomas. That’s what you get for playing on a perennial loser.
Make no mistake about it; Thomas made the Celtics a playoff team. Without that trade, they wouldn’t be playing in Cleveland today. And while I’m extremely happy for Thomas’ success, it is a little bittersweet.
The Kings should have matched the Phoenix Suns contract offer last summer. It was dumb that they didn’t. Even if the Kings didn’t want Thomas on the team long-term that was a contract for a talent you cannot afford to lose. It was an asset.
It turns out Phoenix didn’t even want him long-term, but they were able to flip him to Boston for a first round pick. Ok, I need to stop. It was a bad basketball decision. One of many we’ve seen over the last nine seasons.
I don’t expect Thomas to make it out of the first round, but I’m glad he’s getting a playoff opportunity. I wish him nothing but the best.
My only hope is that next season I won’t have to watch a ‘former Sacramento King’ in the playoffs. ‘Current Sacramento King’ sounds much better.
More from A Royal Pain
- 3 Ways Chris Duarte improves the Kings chances in 2023-24
- 5 Players the Sacramento Kings never should have signed
- Bleacher Report crazily lists Kings’ All-Star as “most overrated NBA player”
- Kings and Heat fans clash on Twitter to debate All-Star players
- Sacramento Kings’ Chris Duarte playing in 2023 FIBA World Cup