Isaiah Thomas Open to Celtics Return, Lakers Also Rumored

Isaiah Thomas, former Wizard

Getty Isaiah Thomas, former Wizard

Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtic (again)? He apparently would be up for it, despite a rocky history with the team for which he played from 2014-17 and was twice named an All-Star. Thomas was not fond of the way the team shunted him off to Cleveland in the Kyrie Irving deal in 2017, a year before his free agency.

But as far as getting back to Boston goes, there could be too many hurdles in place for Thomas, a free agent now that he’s been traded from Washington and bought out by the Clippers, to get there. He’d welcome the chance.

As Thomas told Alex Kennedy of “For sure, if the opportunity presented itself. I hold no grudges, and they know that. I have genuine love for the city of Boston. If that were to happen, I’d love to be part of what they have going on. You never know. I’m always open for any opportunity to be in the NBA and play the game that I love at the highest level. If that opportunity presents itself, for sure. Time has passed.”

Thomas has dealt with persistent hip injuries since leaving Boston, which has led to him bouncing through five organizations in the last three years. He played well for the Wizards this season, though, averaging 12.2 points in 40 games, making 41.3 percent of his 3-pointers.

But to play in Boston, the Celtics would have to be willing to cut a player, most likely Brad Wannamaker, the team’s backup point guard. But Wannamaker has played well this season and has been especially good lately. In his last seven games, Wannamaker has averaged 10.0 points and 3.3 assists, making 48.9 percent of his shots and 60.0 percent of his 3s.

Lakers Possible for Isaiah Thomas?

Thomas could reunite with a former team besides the Celtics. With the Lakers in need of point guard depth and Darren Collison deciding to remain retired, a league source said Thomas is a possibility for the Lakers. There would be even more hurdles to get over for that to happen, though.

Thomas did play for L.A. before, though that stretch was not a highlight of Thomas’ career. He averaged 15.6 points in 17 games in 2018, shooting just 38.3 percent from the field.

The Lakers did go 8-9 when Thomas was healthy, a good mark for a team that was 27-38 without him.

But Thomas also paired with current Lakers star LeBron James in Cleveland before his time in L.A. That didn’t go particularly well, as Thomas struggled in 15 appearances with the Cavs before he was traded. Thomas, it was later reported, did not get along with James and felt that James “talked down” to him.

The Lakers could sign a player on the buyout market but would have to release one of their own players to make that happen—likely Quinn Cook or Troy Daniels. The Lakers would only sign someone if the player would be an obvious upgrade. So far, it appears L.A. is holding out to see whether the Knicks reach a buyout deal with forward Maurice Harkless, who isn’t sure he wants to leave New York.

Thomas Expects to Play Again This Season

Thomas is certain he’ll sign with someone this year. No matter when he signs, he will be eligible for a playoff roster because he was waived before March 1.

Houston was expected to have some interest in Thomas, but the Rockets have so far filled out their roster with a pair of forward, DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Green (who is on a 10-day contract).

Miami is still a possibility, with players like Chris Silva, Solomon Hill or Udonis Haslem potential buyout candidates. The Heat are believed to be looking for a big man as their first priority but would welcome scoring help off the bench.

Orlando remains an ideal fit, too, for Thomas. Despite their recent struggles, the Magic are an Eastern Conference playoff team badly in need of an offensive boost off the bench.

“I won’t say specific teams, but we’ve had talks with several teams,” Thomas told Kennedy. “Teams are interested, but we’re just trying to figure out what’s the best situation for me. Also, we know that other things may open up very soon. But I’m just trying to stay as patient as possible when it comes to this while knowing that I’m ready for any opportunity that I’m given.”

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