Thomas’ presence already creating a bit of LA drama

Isaiah Thomas was traded from the Cavaliers to the Lakers on Thursday.

Isaiah Thomas will come off the bench in his debut with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to an ESPN report, and that is something his agent has already implied will not be a long-term decision.

But first things first. Let’s check out the ESPN story by noted newsbreaker Chris Haynes:

“Isaiah Thomas will come off the bench when he makes his Los Angeles Lakers debut ‪Saturday night against the Dallas Mavericks, league sources told ESPN. Lakers coach Luke Walton and Thomas had dinner together in Dallas on Friday and discussed expectations and roles.”

Thomas is a 5-foot-9 point guard who arrived in LA (along with forward Channing Frye) after a trade-deadline deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While rookie point guard Lonzo Ball may not be the Lakers’ best player, he has been hailed as the franchise’s new cornerstone (when healthy). Ball and Thomas just happen to play the same position — and many around the league will tell you it is the most important position. Point guard in the NBA is like the quarterback in football. A great one can carry you to great heights.

According to Haynes’ report, “the plan is for Thomas to eventually work himself into position to join the starting five.”

Meanwhile, after the trade, Lakers top basketball man Magic Johnson said Ball will remain the starter, no questions asked.

“Lonzo is our starting point guard. That hasn’t changed,” Johnson told LA reporters. “He’s a young man that gives us so many different options in what he can do. But we also value what Isaiah can bring to this team. I think he can give us some of that scoring punch that left with Jordan (Clarkson).”

Clarkson, traded to the Cavs as part of the deal, provided scoring punch off the bench for the Lakers.

Anyway, back to Thomas’ agent, Aaron Goodwin. He reportedly sent a text to ESPN personality Rachel Nichols following the Lakers-Cavs trade that insisted Thomas will start — or seek a buyout. (See video below.)

But if Thomas is to start when Ball returns, it will be because Thomas beats out Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. All Caldwell-Pope did in his previous game was play 31 minutes and score 20 points on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting.

Right now, it seems like KCP has earned the role — especially when you consider the fact the Lakers have won eight of 10 (without Ball, too).

A big reason Thomas was shipped out of Cleveland was because he wasn’t a fit, either on the floor or in the locker room. He can become a free agent after the season, and while he’s seeking a big payday, he still very clearly has not totally recovered from last season’s nasty hip injury.

Is Thomas now bringing more drama to a franchise that’s already experienced plenty with Ball’s dad and his harsh criticisms of the coaching staff?

In fairness, it’s too early to say. But when it comes to this season, Thomas’ track record on keeping the peace and just trying to adapt to his surroundings has not been strong.

3 Comments on "Thomas’ presence already creating a bit of LA drama"

  1. About an hour ago i read on the NBA app preview that IT was starting tonight. Now Im reading that he’s not.

    I think it’s possible IT’s (new?) agent is causing a problem for IT here. Yes, everybody wants to get paid in free agency, but the hard truth is that IT’s not fully recovered from his injury, and may not be back to form any time too soon.

    Goodwin needs ackowledge this. I think it would serve IT better if they gave him more time to recover, go with the flow of his rehab and trust the Lakers with how much they use him and just get healthy. Trying to force him into a starting position is going to alienate Isaiah from his teammates, Lakers brass, and GM’s around the league, to the detriment of IT and his agent’s wallet when its all said and done.

    If Im IT’s agent, a put trust in the process of his rehab and let him get back to top form before making all these demands. If he truly believes IT will be the player he always was, he should have no problem taking a one year deal this summer and raising IT’s free agency value next season for the following summer while IT returns to top form.

    If he wants a long term extension this summer how can it be at a max rate if he’s not playing in max form? Goodwin needs to be careful not to shoot himself in the foot with all these demands, and IT better be careful with letting this guy represent him. It could cost him.

  2. so long bench boy! I don’t know who I feel worse for… Shumpert that he has to play on a bad King’s team, or Frye that he still has to be a teammate of IT.

  3. Geesch!

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