Isaiah Thomas is back on the free-agent market after the New Orleans Pelicans opted not to sign the former Los Angeles Lakers guard to another 10-day contract. This has prompted some Lakers fans to wonder if there could be an L.A. reunion in the works, but it would be more than complicated for Thomas to end up back with the team this season.
ESPN’s Andrew Lopez reported that the Pelicans are considering bringing back Thomas on another contract but will wait to see who else is available in the free-agent market. Thomas was described as “beloved” by his Pelicans teammates during his brief stint in New Orleans.
“Isaiah Thomas’ 10-day contract with the Pelicans has expired and the team will not look to bring him back right away, source tells ESPN,” Lopez detailed on Twitter. “Pels could bring him back down the road, though. They have 2 weeks before needing to sign another player – on either a 10-day or rest of the year. Because of luxury tax reasons, Pelicans could wait the full 2 weeks before adding someone. The Pels loved Thomas’ veteran presence and the way he communicated with younger guys while he was with the team. But new injuries to Josh Hart (thumb) and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (high ankle sprain) will factor into who gets brought in for next deal.”
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Thomas Played 17 Games for the Lakers During the 2017-18 Season
Whatever chances Thomas had in rejoining the Lakers essentially ended when the team signed guard Ben McLemore. The Lakers no longer have an open roster spot and would have to release a player in order to have room to add Thomas. Even so, the Lakers are now at the luxury tax apron which adds to the complication even more than the full roster.
Thomas averaged 7.7 points, 1.7 assists and 16 minutes per game in his three appearances with the Pelicans this season. The two-time All-Star briefly played with the Lakers during the 2017-18 season. Thomas notched 15.6 points, five assists and 2.1 rebounds per game in his 17 appearances with the Lakers.
The point guard spent the better part of the last year trying to find a new NBA landing spot after playing 40 games for the Wizards last season. Thomas dealt with a serious hip injury over the past several years but describes himself as being “102 %” healthy now.
“I’m 102%. I’m more than good,” Thomas said while with the Pelicans, per ESPN. “This is the best I ever felt since before I got injured. It’s not even a question no more. Every day I wake up with a smile on my face because honestly I never thought I would feel this good again and feel back to normal. Physically I’m ready. Mentally I’m ready. And I’m just happy to really be here.”
Thomas Has Been Linked to the Lakers Throughout the Season
Throughout the season, there have been rumblings that there could be mutual interest between Thomas and the Lakers. Back in March, The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski reported the Lakers were among the top landing spots for Thomas.
“Hearing the Lakers and the Bucks are among the teams to watch if/when IT gets another shot in the league,” Krawczynski tweeted on March 17.
The Lakers are now in a much different situation after adding Andre Drummond following his buyout from the Cavs then signing McLemore weeks later. Los Angeles’ roster is now full, but it would not be surprising for the Lakers to face Thomas on another team in the postseason.