The Los Angeles Lakers announced that they have officially signed veteran point guard Isaiah Thomas to a 10-day contract via the NBA Hardship Exception provision. Thomas will wear No. 31 for the Lakers and will be available to play beginning on Friday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The signing was first reported on Thursday, although the Lakers had to wait to get approval from the league to make it official.
Teams get approved for the NBA Hardship Exception if they are missing three or more players due to injury or health and safety protocols, which is the case for L.A.
Going into Friday night’s game, the Lakers are without Talen Horton-Tucker, Malik Monk, Kendrick Nunn, Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley due to health and safety protocols.
Russell Westbrook was also placed in the protocols, although he was eventually cleared by the NBA and is allowed to play on Friday.
It will be interesting to see if Thomas gets minutes right away for the Lakers, who are very short on guard depth. He has worked extremely hard to get healthy and back in the NBA, most recently scoring 42 points to go along with eight assists and six rebounds in his NBA G League debut on Wednesday night.
Given the Lakers have a full roster, Thomas’ stay with the team might not be longer than 10 days when players should be healthy enough to get out of protocols. If he impresses in his short time with the Lakers then it’s possible they give him a longer look, although that would require cutting another player, which seems unlikely.
This marks the second time Thomas is a member of the Lakers with him also playing 17 games for them to finish the 2017-18 season.
Monk not yet cleared of protocols
While Westbrook is able to return to action for the Lakers, the same cannot yet be said for Monk. It was reported on Thursday night that he had cleared protocols and would be able to play against the Timberwolves, but it was then announced on Friday that is not yet the case and he is still unavailable for the time being.
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