Thomas, Green Look to Rekindle Offensive Fire
WALTHAM, Mass. – When Isaiah Thomas and Gerald Green first teamed up as members of the Phoenix Suns in 2014, they immediately clicked on the court as if they had been playing together for years.
“It was amazing because it’s not like we had any outside practice, it’s not like we talked about each others’ game – we just clicked instantly,” recalled Green. “It was kinda like Kool-Aid and sugar; it just goes together.”
However, the duo's camaraderie was short-lived. After playing just 46 games in a Suns uniform, Thomas was shipped up to Boston at the 2015 trade deadline. His former teammate had to watch from afar as Thomas led the Celtics – the team that drafted Green in 2005 – to two consecutive playoff berths.
After spending last season in Miami, Green felt it was time to renew not only his connection with the Celtics and the city of Boston, but also his relationship with the point guard that he had felt so bonded to during their short stint together in Phoenix. So when Green hit free agency this past summer, he picked up his phone and dialed his old friend.
“I gave [Thomas] a call and told him that the Celtics could be a team that I might be going to, said Green. “He wanted me to come back and partner up with him like the old days.”
Thomas was asked about the conversation following Thursday’s practice and he couldn’t help but laugh as he recalled the surprise phone call.
“Gerald doesn’t call anybody so I knew something was up,” Thomas said with a chuckle. “He said Boston was one of the teams he was looking at, and they were interested so then I just tried to put my two cents in and he got here. I’m just happy to have him because he’s gonna really help us.”
The Celtics knew they would need some offensive aid following the departure of glue guy Evan Turner, and coach Brad Stevens noted that Green should be a great help on that end.
“He scores in bunches, and we need to be able to shoot the ball well and make people pay for getting overextended or over-helping,” said Stevens. “We’ve got some threats in the paint, we’ve got some guys that are able to get in the paint, and we’ve got to be able to stretch the floor, and he helps us do that.”
Thomas is far more aware of Green’s tendencies than any other member of the Celtics. Fortunately, he’s also the guy that will have the rock in his hand the majority of the time, so there should be plenty of opportunities for them to feed off of one another and thrive in Boston’s up-tempo offense.
“When we played in Phoenix it was like we played together for years because we just clicked so easily,” said Thomas. “I know where he likes the ball and I know where his hot spots are.”
Added the All-Star point guard, “He’s a guy that can shoot the ball, a guy that can space the floor, and he’s just an instant scorer. Whether he starts, whether he comes off the bench, that’s what he’s gonna do.”
The pair have not had much of an opportunity to click during training camp, as Green has been sidelined the last two days with a hip flexor. That being said, the 30-year-old veteran is itching to get back on the court with his old friend while representing the franchise that he began his career with.
“This is a great young team that can do big things and I want to be a part of that,” said Green. “Isaiah is one of my great friends on the court as well as off the court, so I knew it would be a good situation for me to team up with him, especially in Boston.”