Isaiah Thomas is getting another chance in the NBA.
According to NBA Insider Marc Stein, the two-time All-Star will sign a 10-day hardship contract with the Lakers in light of the team’s COVID-19 outbreak.
MORE: The NBA’s hardship exception, explained
The Lakers currently have five players in the NBA’s health and safety protocols in Russell Westbrook, Malik Monk, Dwight Howard, Talen Horton-Tucker and Avery Bradley.
Signing Thomas to a 10-day hardship deal allows the Lakers to stay safely above the league’s minimum number of eight active players on a roster to play games.
Thomas is finally earning another opportunity to get back in the league with his last real stint coming in 2019-20 with the Wizards. The 32-year-old is fully recovered from a devastating hip injury that derailed his career back in 2017-18, and he’s proved that with strong showings with Team USA at the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers in November.
He followed that up with one very impressive outing in his G League debut on Wednesday night with the Nuggets’ affiliate, Grand Rapids Gold.
In his 2021 G League debut, Thomas erupted for 42 points, eight assists and six rebounds while shooting 16-for-30 from the field. He showed flashbacks of his quickness and shiftiness from his All-Star days with the Celtics, scoring in the lane without trouble while displaying touch on floaters, too. And that jump shot hasn’t gone anywhere, knocking down five 3-pointers to boot.
This will be Thomas’ second stint with the Lakers in his career. He played 17 games with Los Angeles in 2017-18, posting averages of 15.6 points and 5.0 assists per game.
With Westbrook, Monk, Horton-Tucker and Bradley out, the Lakers are as thin as can be at the guard position. Thomas will compete with the likes of Rajon Rondo, Austin Reeves and Wayne Ellington for playing time, but there should be plenty of minutes available given the team’s lack of depth at the moment.
Let’s see what Thomas can do with this opportunity.