There may finally be a way back into league action for Isaiah Thomas, according to the latest NBA rumors. The 32-year old hasn't played an NBA game since the 3rd of February, 2020, but led the USA basketball team in two FIBA qualifying wins earlier this year.
As a free agent, Thomas has garnered a lot of interest from teams around the league, including from the LA Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks. However, the latest NBA rumors suggest that the New Orleans Pelicans have offered the two-time All-Star a ten-day contract.
The New Orleans Pelicans are 12th in the West and have underperformed this season. So adding Isaiah Thomas could add some much-needed depth and experience to their backcourt and also rejuvenate the veteran's career.
NBA Rumors: New Orleans Pelicans boost backcourt with Isaiah Thomas
After Isaiah Thomas was released by the LA Clippers last season, he did not return to the league.
He waited patiently for an opportunity, which appears to have come after almost a year. In this period, Thomas had surgery on his hip. Nevertheless, he will hope to show the NBA that he can play at the same level he showed in Washington prior to his departure.
During his time with the Wizards, Isaiah Thomas averaged 12.2 points and 3.7 assists on 23 minutes across 40 appearances. That is the level of efficiency and bench minutes the New Orleans Pelicans would hope to get out of the 5' 9" point guard, should they keep him beyond his 10-day contract.
While leading the USA basketball team against Mexico and the Bahamas back in February, Thomas got 28 points and five assists. Later, he spoke of what he can still do in the NBA:
“I'm moving like I did before the injury, and that was the biggest thing I wanted to show people—that I didn't lose a step. I'm still quick and fast. I'm still powerful. I’m able to move again.”
The New Orleans Pelicans had been linked with a new point guard in the build-up to the trade deadline, with Lonzo Ball's name frequently doing the rounds. Although Ball stayed with the franchise, there is no doubt their offense could do with a lift and their lineup some experience.
If Isaiah Thomas has indeed returned to the player he was before two injury-ravaged seasons, the New Orleans Pelicans could expect consistent offensive production from him off the bench. In 2016-17, Thomas was an All-NBA player and averaged 28.9 points in a league dominated by bigs.
With the setting unchanged, does he have what it takes to still provide valuable minutes for teams? We will have to wait and see. However, fans will be excited to see him back in the league and healthy again.