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Even though he’ been out of Cleveland for almost three weeks, Isaiah Thomas cannot stop talking about the Cavaliers.
Now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Thomas said the Cavaliers were in “panic mode” when they traded him to LA on deadline day, Feb. 8.
Thomas, dealt with Channing Frye and a protected 2018 first-round draft pick to the Lakers in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., was speaking to ESPN E:60 in an interview in an interview that will air March 11.
Isaiah Thomas was 'surprised' the Cavs moved on so quickly.
Full profile coming March 11th on ESPN. pic.twitter.com/Yp8HQuBTF9
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 25, 2018
“I didn’t think they would pull the trigger that fast, 15 games,” Thomas said. “But again, it’s a business and the Cavs were, I mean, they were in panic mode.
“We were losing… a lot. And I think they felt like they needed to make a move, and they, they basically cleaned house.”
Thomas and Frye were just two of six players Cleveland dealt away in s series of moves on deadline day, along with Iman Shumpert, Jae Crowder, Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade.
In return, they were received the aforementioned Clarkson and Nance, as well as George Hill and Rodney Hood.
— ESPN (@espn) February 25, 2018
“It was a tough situation I was being put in,” Thomas, who averaged 14.7 points in his 15 games in Cleveland, in which the Cavaliers went just 7-8. “It was… it was different. It’s hard to get acclimated to a team halfway through the season.
“People don’t put in there that we had eight or nine new players. So it was basically a brand new team. … I’m in a new system. New team, new coach, new players. And then I’ve been off for seven months. So I got to get — individually, I got to for the most part get my rhythm back, get my timing back.”
Being dealt is nothing knew to Thomas, who was sidelined for seen and a half months while trying to rehabilitate a torn labrum in his right hip before making his Cleveland debut.
“I’ve been in this situation before when I got traded to Boston,” Thomas said, “a team right outside the playoffs, a team that was young, really didn’t know how to win. And I just brought a different swagger to that organization. And we took it and ran with it.”
Thomas, an unrestricted free agent after this season, sees a possible longterm future in Los Angeles.
“I’m coming to an LA team that’s young, that already has a system,” he said. “And I just want to help. Hopefully I’m here long term, you know, with me being a free agent this summer. But if I’m not, these last 25 games I’m going to play my heart out and show the Lakers why I should be here long term.”
He says he has no hard feelings toward the Cavaliers, who stand third in the Eastern Conference standings and are striving for a fourth consecutive trip to The Finals.
“It just didn’t work out,” he said. “And that just happens.”