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Isaiah Thomas only played in 14 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers at the February trade deadline and says people were expecting greatness from him and the team as soon as he returned from his hip injury.
Speaking on the Tiki and Tierney CBS Sports Radio Show, Thomas reflected on his short stint with the Cavs.
“I only played 13 or 14 games coming off seven months of sitting out to a whole new situation, a whole new team, organization, players I’ve never played with,” Thomas said. “You give anybody 14 games and we go 7-7, you can’t say it worked or it didn’t work. People were just expecting greatness from the jump, and that’s what comes with being on a team with arguably the best player in the world.
“They expect us to go undefeated, and it just didn’t work as fast as people wanted it to. If they didn’t make the trade, I think that team was built better for the playoffs than the team that they had. But you can’t control those things. You just go about your day.”
Thomas shot just 36.1 percent from the floor and averaged 14.7 points and 4.5 assists in 27.1 minutes per game for Cleveland. He was one of six Cavs traded in February at the deadline.
With the Lakers, Thomas played a little better, posting 15.6 points and 5.0 assists in 17 games. The 29-year-old signed a one-year, $2.2 million deal with the Denver Nuggets in July.
Thomas says he came back too soon from his hip ailment with the Cavs and shouldn’t have played in the 2017 playoffs with the Boston Celtics. The two-time All-Star believes Kawhi Leonard made the smart decision this year by sitting out, even though Leonard was cleared to play by Spurs doctors.
“Kawhi Leonard, what he did is the right thing to do,” Thomas said. “He learned from my story. Everybody can hate or do whatever they say about Kawhi Leonard, but at the end of the day, he’s looking after himself. These teams, all they’re going to do is look out for themselves. When a player does it, everybody’s tripping out. It is what it is. At the same time, I’m still blessed to be in the situation I’m in. I’m blessed to be in the NBA. Once I do get that opportunity again, they won’t be able to deny it after that.”