Isaiah commends Kawhi for sitting out: 'He learned from my story'

Chris Covatta / National Basketball Association / Getty

If Isaiah Thomas could turn back the hands of time, he wouldn't have pushed himself and his ailing hip during the Boston Celtics' 2016-17 postseason run and ultimately cost himself a massive payday this summer.

Watching the Kawhi Leonard saga unfold in San Antonio last season, Thomas sees no issue in the All-Star forward choosing not to rush back from his quadriceps tendinopathy and risk further damage.

"Kawhi Leonard, what he did is the right thing to do," Thomas said Thursday during an appearance on CBS Sports Radio. "He learned from my story. Everybody can hate or do whatever they say about Kawhi Leonard, but at the end of the day, he’s looking after himself.

"These teams, all they’re going to do is look out for themselves. When a player does it, everybody’s tripping out. It is what it is. At the same time, I’m still blessed to be in the situation I’m in. I’m blessed to be in the NBA. Once I do get that opportunity again, they won’t be able to deny it after that."

With the untimely death of his sister weighing heavily on his mind, Thomas viewed basketball as therapeutic, even though his decision to continue playing, in all probability, aggravated his injured hip.

Despite advancing all the way to the Eastern Conference finals, the Celtics ultimately elected to ship Thomas off to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he struggled to fit in during his 15-game run. His poor play, paired with season-ending hip surgery in late March after being moved again to the Los Angeles Lakers, diminished Thomas' value tremendously.

He's now a member of the Denver Nuggets on a one-year contract for the veteran's minimum, while the Spurs cut ties with Leonard - who made just nine appearances in 2017-18 - by trading him north of the border to the Toronto Raptors.

Isaiah commends Kawhi for sitting out: 'He learned from my story'
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