Latest posts by Colton Jones (see all)
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It’s been a tumultuous eight months for Isaiah Thomas, so it takes something to shock him.
Consider him shocked.
The 29-year-old two-time All-Star was traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers along with Channing Frye and the team’s 2018 first-round draft choice in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. before the trade deadline Thursday.
After playing only 15 games with Cleveland after being off for more than seven months while rehabilitating a torn labrum in his right hip, Thomas admitted he was “shocked” to be traded.
“It was a surprise, but at the same time, I am happy to have a new start,” Thomas, who averaged 14.7 points and 4.5 assists per game with the Cavaliers, said. “I am happy to be here with the Lakers, happy to be with a young team that is exciting, that likes to get up and down. That’s my style of play. I am here to help in any way possible. It’s a fresh start for me. I am excited.”
Thomas is not new to being traded. After being the 60th (and final) pick of the 2011 draft by the Sacramento Kings, he was sent in a sign-and-trade deal to Phoenix. In 2015, the Suns traded him to Boston, where he was a two-time All-Star before being part of the deal that sent Kyrie Irving to the Celtics on Aug. 22.
“It kind of reminds me of the same situation when I got traded to Boston — it was a young team that was thinking rebuild, but we had some different thoughts than that and we made a push to the playoffs.
“That is my job, to come to this team and bring that spirit, that fire, that killer’s mentality and just understand that we can take advantage of this opportunity that we have [the rest of] the season. It’s about winning and it is about winning right now.”
Thomas will make his Lakers debut tonight in Los Angeles. He will come off the bench for coach Luke Walton’s Lakers (23-31), who have gone 12-4 in their last 16 games.
“This is the best they have been playing,” Thomas said. “I don’t want to mess anything up. And I told [Walton] that. Whatever he needs me to do, I am willing to do that.
“Yes, I would love to be a starter. I feel like I deserve that and earned that. But at the same time, it’s a new chapter for me. I am here to help this team, help these young guys, continue to be professional, continue to work hard and continue to gel together.”
Walton said he appreciates Thomas’ desire to start, but believes the situation will work out. Lonzo Ball, the Lakers’ starting point guard, is sidelined with a sprained MCL.
“Isaiah, he is one of the best point guards in our league,” Walton said. “And I am quite aware of that. He’s been with the team for 12 hours now. We are going to get him playing and get him used to what we do and I told him that for us, it doesn’t matter who starts and who doesn’t.
“We’re a group that different groups finish the game all the time for us.”