After a week without speaking to the media, IsaiahThomas delivered in a big way Saturday.
The 5-foot-9 Cavaliers point guard stepped up and stood tall, speaking for 13 minutes after team practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence and answered every question thrown at him.
The subjects of the questions included everything you've read about here at Amico Hoops and seen and heard everywhere else over the past week, and to his credit, Thomas didn't dodge a single one of them.
So, here we go...
The much-reported supposed issues with Kevin Love
“To be real, I didn’t call him out," Thomas said. "I asked him why wasn’t he at the game (a 148-124 loss against Oklahoma City last Saturday) during the game supporting his teammates.
"And then after the game, I didn’t ask him because he wasn’t there."
Love returned to practice Monday after leaving the OKC game after three minutes because of illness and missing practice Sunday with the same illness.
"So I was seeing where he was," Thomas said. "So I didn’t call him out any. So those reports that whoever is saying that, there’s no bad blood between me and him.
"We go back to fifth and sixth grade. I asked him a question where he was and it was never clarified. And that’s all it was."
On 'The Rebound'
During the win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, the 6-10 Love exaggerated bending over to present the basketball to the 5-9 Thomas after grabbing a defensive rebound.
Clips of the play went viral on social media.
"So the rebound, I don’t (know)," Thomas said. "Did (Love) say anything about the rebound?”
When told Love did not, at least not on the record, Thomas continued.
“And did you see I was smiling right after? Did you see that part? OK, then," Thomas said. "Like, there’s nothing between me and Kevin Love.
Still more on Love and that team meeting
"We’re not talking about Kevin Love’s illness," Thomas said. "We just didn’t know where he was, at the end of the day. And to be real, we didn’t know where he was. We didn’t know why he wasn’t on the bench supporting his teammates and why he wasn’t in the locker room after the game. And then he missed the next practice, which it still wasn’t addressed.
"So we wanted to address it when we seen him or when we came together and everybody was there," Thomas continued. "And that’s what it was. It was no bigger than that.
"Whoever reported that it was and we was bashing Kevin Love, there was nothing to bash him about, we just wanted to know where he was and why he didn’t play."
And still more on the meeting
"It's bigger than what we talked about on Monday," Thomas said. "It’s bigger than that. Like, we got to be a better defensive team. We got to not be stagnant on offense in the fourth quarter. We got to do those type of things to be a better team overall.
"I don’t think that talk had anything to make us better. There was questions that wasn’t addressed.”
On criticisms on his shot selection and 'fit' with the Cavaliers
"What did you trade me here for?" Thomas said. "To not shoot? To not find my rhythm? To not be Isaiah Thomas? I can’t be anybody else."
Thomas was booed by the Quicken Loans Arena crowd in the fourth quarter Friday night for taking questionable shots and after a turnover.
"I mean, not as well as I want to right now but it’s going to take time," Thomas said of how he fits with Cleveland. "Like, I’m in a whole new situation. I’m used to having the ball every play. I’m used to making most of the plays.
"So I got to figure out and this team has to figure out how we can use each other’s strengths and use that as a positive. And it’s going to work out. It just takes some time. And I’m not back to who I am.
"So, like, I’m trying to figure out how to play with LeBron. I’m trying to figure out how to play with Kevin Love. At the same time, trying to get my rhythm back in real, live action," he said. "So that’s going to take time. And, I mean, I’m not panicking. I don’t think anybody in this locker room is panicking, but the people outside this locker room. Which is fine, they’re entitled to their own opinion. But one thing about me, I’m going to keep pushing. I’m going to keep grinding. And it will work."
But, the Cavaliers have won just four of 11 games since he returned
"I think at the end of the day, it’s gonna work, but like, I’m in a new system, a totally new player that came in in the middle of January. A player that’s supposed to be very impactful on this organization. Like, that’s not going to work overnight. I don’t care who you are.
"And to the fact that everybody wants it to happen overnight and those first two games were like, ‘They’re gonna beat the Warriors,' and then we go on a three-game losing streak and it’s like, 'Isaiah needs to get on the bench.'" he said "That’s disrespectful to the work that I put in."
Is he being blamed more than he should?
"We've been a lowest five [rated] defensive team in the NBA the whole time [this season]," Thomas said. "So when I come back, it's my fault now. Which, life isn't fair, but that's not fair, bro. At all. I just laugh at those things because I know in this circle and this team, everybody believes in each other, and everybody's in here for it to work and for us to be playing in June. That's the ultimate goal."
Is all the reported drama surround the team overblown?
"Being on this team, you see anything that happens, it’s a little blown up and it’s a little more than what it really is," Thomas said. "I mean that’s just, I guess being on a team with LeBron James, that’s what happens. Every day is a new day and I think for the most part, we’ve been as positive as we can be with all the extra noise from the outside.
"And I know that playing better and getting wins will quiet all that extra noise up and that’s our plan of attack."