In last year's playoffs, Thomas played through the death of his sister, as well as a hip injury that he almost certainly worsened, and still managed to average 23.3 points (including 53 in Game 2 of the East semis) and 6.7 assists to help lead the Celtics to their first conference finals appearance in five years. Then, in the offseason, they traded him to Cleveland.
But despite that cold, business-first treatment, and the fact that the injury submarined his 2017-18 season before prematurely ending it, Thomas doesn't regret suiting up for the Celtics last spring, because it helped him cope with his loss.
"Nah, I don't regret it. Because at that time I was going through something way bigger than basketball," Thomas told the Los Angeles Times' Tania Ganguli on Friday, about a week after undergoing hip surgery. "So basketball was the only thing that could really numb that, at that point in time. I don't regret it.
"You could say, yes, I wish there was a better decision made on both sides, but at the same time, it is what it is, and I can only control so much. Now that I've fixed the main problem, the focus is to get back to 100 percent."
A year after finishing third in the NBA in scoring and fifth in MVP voting, Thomas struggled badly on both ends of the floor, and was traded again, from the Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Lakers. In 32 games between the two teams, he averaged 15.2 points and 4.8 assists while shooting 37.3 percent from the field and 29.3 percent from 3-point range. His PER fell from 26.5 to 12.6, his win shares from 12.5 to 0.1.
Thomas will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.