With the recent retirement of longtime NBA veteran, Jared Dudley, the Los Angeles Lakers are still on the search to fill out the rest of their roster. They had themselves quite the productive offseason. They were able to acquire Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, and Kent Bazemore. However, they still have a couple of spots open. Obviously, since we’re well past the free agency periods, the amount of unsigned talent is indeed scarce. However, there are a few diamonds in the rough that the Lakers should be willing to take a chance on. One of those players is two-time NBA All-Star, Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas has been making headlines for himself, due to what he has been able to demonstrate in some professional summer recreational games recently. Earlier this month, he was able to drop 81 points in one of Jamal Crawford‘s Pro-Am games. It was an emotional night for Thomas because he felt as though the league had “given up” on him due to his turbulent playing history. This game was a much-needed confidence booster for Thomas because he has gone through a lot in recent years.

Isaiah Thomas’ Backstory

Thomas is a prime example of falling from grace. Because at one point in 2017 there was some discussion as to whether or not he would potentially receive a max contract offer. However, the story completely changed in just one season. While playing for the Boston Celtics, he was able to put himself in MVP running during the 2016-17 season. Unfortunately, after that phenomenal season, his career started to take a turn for the worse. He and Jae Crowder were traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Kyrie Irving. While sports is in fact a place of business, this move was viewed as a kick in the face towards Thomas. Because, at one point during the Celtics’ playoff run, Thomas was able to drop 33 points directly after he was informed that his sister had tragically passed.

Isaiah Thomas during his stint with Boston Celtics. While playing for Boston, he was able to become a two-time all-star.
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Then on her birthday, in that same playoff run, he posted 53 points. So, his heart and determination were certainly on full display for the Celtics. However, once he got to Cleveland, everything went downhill. He had to miss half the season due to having offseason hip surgery. He didn’t make his Cavaliers debut until January. At first, it seemed like a decent fit, however, the Cavaliers started to struggle mightily in the games that Thomas participated in. It also didn’t help that Thomas seemed to have been somewhat of a cancer in the locker room. In addition to that, he also seemed to irk his teammates based on what he would say in his postgame interviews. After only 15 game appearances and a bunch of blowout losses, the Cavaliers quickly parted ways with Thomas.

Downhill Spiral

After his dumpster fire stint with Cleveland, Thomas’ possible max contract discussions quickly went away. He ended up being traded to the Lakers and put up decent numbers. However, it was still a far cry from what he was able to do a season ago. Three years later, Thomas has played with three different teams: Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards, and New Orleans Pelicans. All three of those years, Thomas saw no job security and was only offered the vet minimum. Not only that, his playing time/general role diminished significantly as well. He has only made 55 game appearances in the past three seasons. After a major surgery, and also a couple of setbacks, Thomas has shown over the summer that he might be ready for a comeback. But, I still consider him a “wild card” type of player. Because he’s still a little too unpredictable.

Should The Lakers Give Him Another Chance?

The Lakers recently gave him, Darren Collison, and Mike James private workouts in order to evaluate their respective games. Clearly, the Lakers are looking for more depth at the guard position. In my opinion, I feel as though the Lakers should reunite with Thomas and give him another chance. Because, compared to the other two players, Thomas by far has the better track history and I would bet on him to put up better numbers. The less we possibly ask out of Thomas, the better he should be able to do. Because there won’t be any pressure on him to perform well. Plus, with the Lakers’ size, it’ll be easier to hide him on the defensive end since he only stands 5’9”. It seems as though he has made a full recovery.

Thomas had a brief stint with Denver Nuggets. He appeared in only 12 games for them. He signed with them in an offseason in which he was supposed to receive his max contract.

Thomas also used to be teammates with LeBron James in Cleveland. So, even though it didn’t work out at first, as mentioned before, Thomas’ role would be different. So, James won’t ask for Thomas to be the starting point guard and also be the second star of the team compared to his stint in Cleveland. In fact, Thomas might not even play in all of the games. However, he’s a “microwave” type of player, because he can get hot quickly. So, having him on the bench could be beneficial for a contending team like the Lakers. Thomas was also spotted working out with James and Westbrook, so it seems as though James is willing to give the “Thomas experiment” another go at it. So if the Lakers are looking for more guard depth, then Thomas might be the safest bet.

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About Author

Trey Matthews

Trey Matthews is a lifelong basketball fan who grew up watching and idolizing LeBron James. Matthews first began writing for his high school's paper at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School & Academy. He covers the New Jersey Devils (NHL) for Pucks and Pitchforks of FanSided. He previously covered them for The Hockey Writers. Outside of writing, Matthews is currently the play-by-play announcer for the hockey programs at Adrian College. Interestingly, he is also one of the only full-time black hockey play-by-play announcers in the entire country. He has been featured in USA Today, USCHO, & others for his line of work. In addition to that, he's also the host of a podcast show called Locked On Devils.

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