Isaiah Thomas is on to the next chapter of his NBA career.
The Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday decided to ship Thomas, Channing Frye and their 2018 first-round pick to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
Thomas’ trade to the Lakers was just one of several deals the Cavaliers swung by the NBA’s trade deadline. Veterans Jae Crowder, Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade also will be departing Cleveland as part of the Cavs’ near-complete roster overhaul.
For Thomas, heading to L.A. will reunite the sharpshooting guard with his West Coast roots. Not to mention, his father is a die-hard Lakers fan. And for these reasons and more, Thomas’ reported reaction to the deal won’t come as too much of a surprise.
Part of Thomas being “ecstatic” about the trade could be relief in the form of moving on from the Cavaliers. Although his stint in Cleveland was very short and he stated Wednesday that he didn’t want to be traded, Thomas never appeared to gel with the Cavs, and it never seemed as though he and LeBron James could co-exist.
But while Thomas will be the most decorated star on the Lakers at present, it’s tough to envision him becoming a face of the franchise. Lonzo Ball will remain L.A.’s starting point guard, and since the Lakers reportedly have their eyes set on acquiring James and Paul George this offseason, it’s unlikely the Purple and Gold will try to re-sign Thomas when his contract expires at season’s end.
Even in a bench role, however, Thomas still will see a hefty amount of minutes for the Lakers on a nightly basis. And if he goes on to stuff the stat sheet like he’s proven capable of in the past, he’ll put himself in a good position to secure a large free-agent contract this summer.
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