He is 32 and has played a grand total of 65 games for five NBA teams in the last three seasons, but give credit to guard Isaiah Thomas—he keeps trying to go out with a bang here in the NBA. Unfortunately for him, his time is set to run up again, as the Dallas Mavericks will not bring him back after having signed him to a 10-day contract (which expires Sunday) on December 29.
Thomas only got to make one appearance with the Mavs, scoring six points with four assists in a loss in Sacramento. Thereafter he was placed on the COVID-19 health and safety protocols list and was not eligible to play again. With his 10-day deal expiring, Thomas will return to free agency.
When he was introduced in Dallas after his signing, Thomas sounded amped up to take the floor, coming off a previous 10-day he’d signed with the Lakers. He’d made four appearances with L.A., averaging 9.3 points but shooting just 30.8% from the field.
“I am built for this, I am ready for it, I am thankful for the opportunity and it was a no-brainer when he (GM Nico Harrison) asked,” Thomas said at the time. “They told me to be ready. They told me, just be myself. Every sense of the word just be who I am and bring that to the team. I am always ready, so I did not know if I was going to play, I did not know if I was going to play a lot or a little bit. But me being a professional for 11 years, I’m just accustomed to staying ready. That’s all I did tonight.”
Thomas Vaulted to Stardom in Boston
Though his efficiency has been lacking, it is hard to believe that there is not a team that could use Thomas off the bench, both to provide some scoring punch and some veteran leadership. He is among the most well-liked players in the league, an affable 5-foot-9 guard who was the final player chosen in the 2009 NBA draft.
Thomas rose from that spot to earn a place in the NBA, first as a starter in Sacramento, then as a sixth man in Phoenix. His big break came when, after a disappointing start to his career with the Suns in 2015, the Celtics made a move to bring him to Boston, as part of a blockbuster three-team trade.
Thomas became a star with the Celtics, twice earning a spot in the All-Star game and finishing fifth in the 2016-17 NBA MVP voting.
But a hip injury derailed his career from there, and the Celtics included him in the deal with Cleveland that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston. Thomas says his hip is 100% now, but he has not been able to land a contract and a consistent role with a team since that 2017 summer.
Thomas Hopes His ‘Wisdom’ Counts in Getting a New Contract
That, oddly enough, could be one of the draws to signing Thomas, at least according to him. As a player, he has had a multitude of experiences, and was even in the G League this season, where he scored 42 points with eight assists in his debut for Grand Rapids in December, before signing with the Lakers.
He’s hoping that keeps him around in the NBA.
“I can bring everything,” Thomas said. “I have been in every situation possible in the NBA. I don’t know how many players in the NBA can honestly say they’ve been in every situation, whether it’s the franchise player, whether it’s the sixth-man’s role, whether it is a role player off the bench or a guy who doesn’t even play. I’ve seen it all so I’m able to, you know, give that experience back to the younger guys and the guys on this team. Whenever I can, I am able to lend a helping hand and give some wisdom.”