5 Teams that should sign Isaiah Thomas
After a solid start to the season with the Wizards, Isaiah Thomas was traded to, and later waived by, the Los Angeles Clippers, making him a free agent. While he’s only three seasons removed from being an MVP candidate, injuries have taken a toll on the 5’9” point guard as he’s lost some of his quickness. Not to mention, Thomas has been one of the worst defenders in the NBA this season. However, teams in need of a scorer should be interested in the little guy. Here are five teams that should give him an offer.
5. Phoenix Suns
Following an uneventful trade deadline for Phoenix, backup point guard Tyler Johnson was released by the team. After productive seasons in previous years with Miami, Johnson fell off the map after going to the Suns. Ricky Rubio has been fine as a playmaker and defender, but the Suns could use another scoring plug in the backcourt next to Devin Booker. Other backup point guards, Ty Jerome, Elie Okobo, and Jevon Carter, have all made limited impact backing up Rubio.
Thomas played the first half of 2014-15 with Phoenix before he getting traded to Boston, where he broke out. Ironically, that team shipped him off due to having too many point guards in Thomas, Goran Dragic, and Eric Bledsoe. Five seasons later, the team is in need of depth at the same position. IT would provide scoring when Booker goes to the bench, something Phoenix has lacked all season. Thomas likely wouldn’t start, but he would get 20-25 minutes off the bench for the Suns.
4. Sacramento Kings
Sacramento: the team that drafted Isaiah Thomas with the 60th and final pick in the 2011 NBA draft. As of today, Sacramento is averaging just 107.8 ppg, 14th out of 15 in the Western Conference. De’Aaron Fox has played well, but the Kings have struggled to get production at point guard when he heads to the bench. Cory Joseph is a non-factor most nights despite making over 12M this season, and Yogi Ferrell rarely plays over 15 minutes on a given night.
Isaiah Thomas would help to solve both issues of scoring and backup point guard. Sure, he’s a defensive liability, but the Kings only allow 110.4 ppg, sixth best out of 15 in the Western Conference. Coming off the bench and playing around 20 minutes would provide the Kings with a solid scoring plug. Eric Mika has a 10-day contract that expires soon, and IT could take his roster spot.
3. New York Knicks
For Thomas, going to the Knicks could be a great move for his career. Being a fan favorite around the league, he would draw a lot of hype at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks roster is a complete mess, with several decent, but far from elite, point guards in Elfrid Payton, Dennis Smith Jr., and Frank Ntilikina. DSJ has regressed heavily in his third season, leaving the Knicks without a clear point guard of the future, provided RJ Barrett plays shooting guard.
While IT wouldn’t be a long term solution for the Knicks, he would likely start for this team and hopefully show the league he still has some juice left in the tank. The Knicks only average 104.9 ppg, 28th out of 30 in the NBA. Thomas would help in trying to fix this issue for an abysmal franchise. Signing IT now and having Leon Rose as president of basketball operations for the future would be a step in the right direction for this franchise.
2. Orlando Magic
At 23-31, the Magic are currently in position to make the playoffs in the East, despite only being on pace for 35 wins. The heart and soul of the team revolves around its defense, which only allows 105.3 ppg, the best mark in the NBA. However, their 103.7 ppg scored is 29th in the NBA, only better than the Charlotte Hornets. They could use a scoring plug off the bench.
While D.J. Augustin is an okay backup to Markelle Fultz, IT would be able to provide more consistent scoring off the bench. Both are defensive liabilities, with Augustin at a -2.1 DBPM, and Thomas at a -4.9 DBPM. The Magic have made almost no moves since the start of last season, outside of trading a second-round pick for James Ennis. Signing Thomas would be a step in the right direction and help Orlando with scoring.
1. Boston Celtics
The Little Guy! The King of the Fourth! The guy who dropped 53 in honor of his sister who died in a car accident. IT is and will forever be beloved by the Celtics fanbase. As a Sixers fan during the Process days, I hopped on the IT-led Celtics bandwagon during the playoffs in 2016 and 2017. His performance during the second round against prime John Wall and Wizards was truly incredible as he battled injuries and personal tragedy to lead his team to a series win in seven. Thomas has expressed interest in wanting to return to Boston, where he would likely serve as a backup point guard to Kemba Walker alongside Brad Wanamaker.
The bigger question here is whether or not GM Danny Ainge would pull the trigger on this move. Ainge brutally traded Thomas away following the 2017 playoffs in exchange for Kyrie Irving. There may be some bitter feelings from Isaiah Thomas’ end there. Also, it seems unlikely Ainge would sign an oft-injured player after he refused to make any moves at the trade deadline. Vincent Poirier would likely be the guy who gets cut to clear a roster spot for Isaiah Thomas. Even as a 76ers fan, I’m rooting for this move to happen.
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