The Los Angeles Lakers had a long look at a number of different players this summer as they were reportedly looking for another veteran point guard to add behind Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Nunn. One player they took a long look at was one the franchise is already somewhat familiar with in Isaiah Thomas.
The Lakers acquired Thomas at the trade deadline in 2018 and he had decent success in the purple and gold during his short stint here, averaging 15.6 points and 5.0 assists in 17 games with the franchise. The Lakers didn’t bring Thomas back the following season as they, of course, landed LeBron James and all expectations immediately changed.
Thonas has bounced around the league since then but ultimatelywent unsigned this offseason. He recently sat down with Shams Charania of The Athletic, revealing just how close he was to signing with the Lakers and the reason he believes it didn’t happen:
“I was very close. I really believe if the Rondo buyout didn’t happen I would’ve been a Laker. All respect to Rondo and respect to the Lakers organization, but I was around those guys a little bit. I was able to work out with Bron and Westbrook so they seen me in my element and they seen me back to the person I am. Things happen, I can’t control that, but I was very close to signing with the Lakers and that would’ve probably been a really good opportunity to be able to play with such great players and to be able to learn from them great players and be in an organization like the Lakers again, that would’ve been super dope. But it didn’t happen and you gotta move forward.”
Once Rondo became available the Lakers immediately moved to bring him in. Both James and Anthony Davis love having him around, head coach Frank Vogel was comfortable with him and the Lakers really valued his basketball IQ and leadership on the bench in a role similar to that filled by Jared Dudley over the last couple of seasons.
Unfortunately for Thomas, that means taking a different route to get back to the NBA and he is doing just that, having recently agreed to join the Denver Nuggets’ G-League affiliate the Grand Rapids Gold. Thomas is still only 32 years old and undoubtedly has the ability to contribute to a team at the NBA level.
It was an unfortunate situation for Isaiah Thomas, but he has moved forward on his journey. The Lakers seem more than happy with their decision to go with Rondo as it simply wasn’t meant to be this time for the two sides to come together.
Rajon Rondo, Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore practice with South Bay Lakers
Though they played a big role early on in the season perhaps due to all of the Lakers’ injuries, both Rajon Rondo and Kent Bazemore have seldom seen the court as of late. Meanwhile, Trevor Ariza is beginning to ramp up his activity in hopes of finally making his season debut.
As such all three recently practiced with the team’s G-League affiliate the South Bay Lakers with Rondo and Bazemore wanting to stay in shape and ready in case the team needs them, and Ariza inching closer to a return.
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