Ex-Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas Lands NBA Contract After 42-Point Explosion: Report

Ex-Celtic Isaiah Thomas signs with Lakers

Getty Ex-Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas lands a new NBA contract.

Isaiah Thomas has earned himself another opportunity in the NBA ranks. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the former Boston Celtics All-Star is signing a 10-day contract with the Los Angeles Lakers under the hardship exemption.

The move comes on the heels of guards Russell Westbrook and Avery Bradley entering into COVID protocols, per Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin. The two veterans become the fourth and fifth Lakers players to enter protocols, joining fellow teammates Dwight Howard, Malik Monk and Talen Horton-Tucker. Due to the number of absences, including injured players Trevor Ariza (ankle) and Kendrick Nunn (knee), Los Angeles is “eligible to temporarily add up to two free agents due to the NBA’s hardship provision,” as highlighted by Hoops Rumors.

Thomas’ deal comes less than 24 hours after he dazzled in his G League debut with the Grand Rapid Gold — the Denver Nuggets affiliates. The 32-year-old Washington native torched the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for 42 points, including five made 3-pointers. He also pitched in with eight assists and six rebounds.

A Long-Time Coming

Thomas last suited up for the Lakers back in 2017 when he was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers alongside Channing Frye in exchange for Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson. Ultimately, the former All-NBA second-team selection only lasted 17 games with the Lakers before hip surgery prematurely ended both his season and ultimately, his tenure in Los Angeles.

However, had it not been for the likes of another former Celtics star point guard, Thomas believes his homecoming to the West Coast would have been expedited.

“I was very close, like, I really believe if the [Rajon] Rondo buyout didn’t happen, I would have been a Laker,” Thomas told Charania in an interview on December 14. “All respect to Rondo and to the Lakers organization but, you know, I was around those guys a little bit, they seen. I was able to work out with LeBron and Westbrook, so they seen me in my element and they seen me back to the person I am. So, you know, things happen, I can’t control that.”

The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski reported back in August that prior to Rondo being bought out by the Memphis Grizzlies, the Lakers were seriously entertaining the idea of adding Thomas.

“Lakers were strongly considering signing Isaiah Thomas, and things appeared to be headed that way as September approaches. Rondo getting the buyout from Memphis clearly changed things in recent days,” Krawczynski tweeted.

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Outlook on Thomas

In his heyday, Thomas was one of basketball’s most vaunted offensive threats. A compact, 5-foot-9-inch scoring machine who averaged 24.7 points per game over his nearly three seasons in Boston.

During the entirety of his NBA career, Thomas has averaged 18.1 points, 4.9 assists, and 2.4 rebounds per game. Thomas’ most recent stint in the league came on a 10-day contract with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2020-21. He went on to appear in three games over that span, reaching double digits points twice and averaging 7.7 points per contest.

Thomas’ MVP caliber days look well in the rearview and his play on the defensive end has never been anything to write home about — at least positively. Still, even at his age, Thomas has shown time and time again that he remains capable of getting buckets.


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