Early on in the 2021-22 season, the NBA was hit by a huge coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak with many players, coaches and administrators contracting the virus and entering the league’s health and safety protocols. Due to this, the league allowed exemptions for teams allowing them to sign players to 10-day contracts and one of the players the Los Angeles Lakers chose to bring on was veteran point guard Isaiah Thomas.
The Lakers signed Thomas to a 10-day contract on Dec. 17, marking a return to the franchise for Thomas, who appeared in 17 games back in 2018 following a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Thomas actually started this season in the G League, and in his first appearance with the Grand Rapids Gold, he dropped 42 points and eight assists. The Lakers would sign him just days later and though he appeared in just four games with L.A. this year, he proved he still belongs in the NBA.
Thomas averaged 9.3 points with the Lakers, becoming a part of the rotation as the team was down numerous players due to the health and safety protocols. Though he started strong, his shooting tailed off in his latter contests with the Lakers and they ultimately decided not to keep him around after his initial contract.
Thomas would eventually go to the Dallas Mavericks and have a return to the Grand Rapids Gold of the GvLeague before winding up with the Charlotte Hornets, where he would finish out the rest of his season.
Without a doubt Thomas’ first game back with the Lakers was his best showing in L.A. this season. Thomas’ 19 points were the most he scored in any contest at the NBA level this season. While he hit just 5-of-12 shots from the field, he also went to the free-throw line nine times, hitting seven, both season-highs as well.
His initial contest in the G League got everyone’s attention that he was more than deserving of a spot in the league, but it was that first game back in purple and gold that showed he can still produce on the big stage.
Thomas finished his season with the Hornets and was an important part of their team both on the court and as a locker room leader for a young team. Thomas has spoken about his desire to remain in Charlotte and help them continue to develop and the team could bring him back as he is a free agent this summer.
How much interest Thomas will have across the league is unclear, but a team in need of a veteran guard to be a locker room leader and spark plug off the bench will surely look his way.
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