The Los Angeles Lakers have been prevalent in rumors as the trade deadline and buyout market approach. Common themes in players L.A. has an interest in are lengthy, versatile big men, like Myles Turner and Andre Drummond.
Rumors connecting the Lakers to a 3-and-D wing like P.J. Tucker have also surfaced on several occasions, though that door has been closed shut as the Houston Rockets dealt Tucker to the Milwaukee Bucks.
A position where rumors have stayed relatively quiet is the guard slot. The Lakers currently have Dennis Schroder, Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker as their ball-handling guards, as L.A. waived Quinn Cook in February.
However, the Lakers could look to bolster their back-up depth at that position, and they’re a potential landing spot for free agent guard Isaiah Thomas, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic:
Hearing the Lakers and the Bucks are among the teams to watch if/when IT gets another shot in the league. https://t.co/X2wueyfcyq
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) March 18, 2021
Thomas, the 60th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, climaxed in the league after earning two All-Star selections in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons with the Boston Celtics. However, a hip injury derailed his career after that.
Thomas has donned four different jerseys since the 2016-17 season, and one of his stints came with the Lakers during the 2017-18 season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers traded Thomas, Channing Frye and a 2018 first-round draft pick to Los Angeles and received Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance in return.
The 5’9″ guard appeared in 17 games for the Lakers, primarily coming off the bench. He averaged 15.6 points, 5.0 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 26.8 minutes per game while shooting 38.3% from the field (13.4 attempts) and 32.7% from 3-point range (5.9 attempts).
Now 32, Thomas hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2019-20 season when he donned a Washington Wizards jersey and played in 40 games until the Wizards dealt him to the L.A. Clippers. The Clippers released him shortly after the trade.
The Lakers have one roster spot available that Thomas could fill, and possibly two depending on Damian Jones’ contract situation as his second 10-day deal is set to expire soon.
It remains to be seen if Thomas is in the mix for an NBA roster spot this season, but even if not, it is also possible the Lakers are monitoring him for a future role.
Lakers monitoring Hassan Whiteside as ‘contingency plan’
As aforementioned, the Lakers believe they’re a top candidate for Drummond’s services if the Cavaliers buy out his contract. However, since a buyout isn’t guaranteed, the Lakers are keeping tabs open on other centers.
One possible option is Hassan Whiteside of the Sacramento Kings, who the Lakers view as a “contingency plan” in case a Drummond deal fails.
Whiteside signed a minimum deal with the Kings this offseason and hasn’t played a game in several weeks due to health and safety protocols. The Kings are towards the bottom of the Western Conference and don’t have plans for Whiteside to be a long-term member, hence the one-year deal for a low price.
Whiteside isn’t the towering presence he supplied teams in the past, but he could be a plausible option to play spot minutes off the bench.
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