In the summer of 2018, point guard Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics will be a free agent. The veteran point will be a hot commodity on the open market with plenty of teams vying for his services if he’s open to leaving Boston.
One possibility for Thomas could be landing with the team he admittedly loved growing up. The Los Angeles Lakers are currently banking on D’Angelo Russell being the point guard of the future, but if Thomas is there for the taking, they must consider reaching out, especially with the recent comments he’s made.
Along with admitting the Lakers were a team he “always” wanted to go to in this interview with USA Today’s Sam Amick, Thomas talked about the impact Kobe Bryant has had on him. Isaiah had a long conversation with Bryant last year in Boston, and it has left a lasting impact on the All-Star guard:
“That’s one guy (who) I don’t have his number and I’ve never been able to talk to him on the phone or text him,” said Thomas, who visited with Bryant for nearly a half hour during his final game in Boston on April 3, 2016. “So that’s one guy who’s not in my phonebook, but that’s a guy (where) that conversation that we had will last a lifetime for me because, like I said, that’s a guy I looked up to growing up and one of my favorite players of all time.”
With the recent changes in the Lakers organization, there’s a chance the storied franchise could have an advantage in the pursuit of Thomas if he indeed considers his options in the summer of 2018. Along with the addition of Magic Johnson as the new president of basketball operations, the team has brought on Kobe’s agent, Rob Pelinka, to replace Mitch Kupchak as general manager.
If Bryant plays any role helping this team land free agents, he’ll probably have Thomas’ ear in 2018. All signs point to Thomas re-signing with the Celtics on a long-term, but he’s keeping his options open, via Amick:
“I love Boston. They changed my career. They’ve given me an opportunity of a lifetime, and I can’t thank them enough. But at the end of the day, as a businessman and as a professional basketball player, I’ve got to keep my options open.”
The trio of Magic, Kobe, and GM Rob Pelinka could be a powerful combination if Bryant agrees to help recruit free agents in the years to come to build this team back into a perennial playoff contender.
Although Bryant won’t be taking a prominent role in the Lakers organization moving forward, despite Magic’s efforts to make it happen, Kobe could help in the offseason if Johnson and Pelinka ask for some assistance in pitching players.
As well as Thomas, Bryant could have an impact in helping the team land Paul George in 2018. All the talk surrounding George’s upcoming free agency have the superstar determined to head to Los Angeles, but if there’s any uncertainty, the California native’s idol could step in and help get a deal done.