New GM Koby Altman, however, was determined not to put his new guard on a timeline.
Altman also made a point of letting the media know he didn't want his entire press conference to be about Thomas' injury. "We're also not going to put a timetable on it".
"But this year ... man, it's not even going to be a thing".
"The goal is to bring him back at some point this year and be healthy, compete and get back to IT status", Altman said. This is a business, and anybody other than LeBron and Kevin Durant can be traded. I was thankful for the opportunity. "I wasn't wronged. It was Boston's right to trade me".
Nonetheless, Thomas broke out in a big way en route to being named to his second straight All-Star Game as well as a member of the All-NBA second team.
Thomas was expected to rake in the big bucks with the Celtics before the trade materialized. "That's just been my story so I've been fine with it. That's just what it is".
Dressed smartly in a wine-colored sport coat for his introductory news conference, Thomas said the Celtics' decision to trade him was initially painful.
A tough defender, Crowder gives Cleveland an edge that was missing last season.
Crowder's mother, Helen Thompson, died from cancer the same night the Cavs and Celtics originally agreed to the trade.
On the floor, the Celtics had stacked up their wing positions substantially over the offseason - inking Gordon Hayward and drafting Jayson Tatum this past June.
"There was some concern because you have a lot of wing players stacked up", said Crowder. The elite offense, the 30-some national TV games, the becoming a place where free agents want to come and play - I feel like I helped build that. But now, it's like, I'm the one who has to stop them from reaching it.
Ante Zizic, who doesn't turn drinking age until January, is the unknown of the three.
The most interesting aspect of Thomas's game is the way he drives to the hole. "I'm excited and I can't wait to get going".
"It won't take long for these guys to click", smiled Lue.
In the article that came out on Wednesday, September 6 (Thursday in Manila), Thomas opened up about everything that went on during the trade - from getting the fateful phone call from general manager Danny Ainge, to breaking the news to his family, and all the emotions that transpired in between.
Thomas understood that Ainge made a business decision, but lamented the fact that "loyalty ain't nothing to count on" when it comes to the National Basketball Association, hoping that players like Kevin Durant won't be chastised in the future after seeing how Thomas was dealt after his heroic 2017 playoff performance, fighting through injury and the death of his sister, Chyna. It ended up working fine for us - guys played great, and my shot was falling.