It was tough to see Isaiah Thomas out of the league. During his peak on the Boston Celtics, Thomas was considered one of the best players in the league. He made two All-Star appearances, finished fifth in MVP voting in the 2016-17 season, and almost led the Celtics to an NBA Finals appearance.
Unfortunately, he was traded to the Cavaliers next season for Kyrie Irving, and IT never came back to that level because of injury issues. After short stints with various teams, he exited the league last season, just to come back on a 10-day contract with the Lakers. Now that the Lakers have ruled out re-signing Thomas, here are two teams that must sign him.
*Watch NBA games LIVE with fuboTV (click for free trial)*
Teams that must sign Isaiah Thomas
1. Boston Celtics
It simply has to be done. There is a level of karmic justice that needs to be fulfilled, and the Celtics must give an opportunity to Isaiah Thomas. It is actually a perfect setup for both sides. Thomas felt best in Massachusetts, and the Celtics had a good amount of success with the 5-foot-9 guard. There are many other reasons why this would work, but it is definitely worth taking a look at what IT achieved with the Celtics.
During his two-and-a-half-year stint in Boston, Thomas averaged 24.7 points and 6.0 assists, and he was the undisputed leader of the franchise. In actuality, it was the best thing that could have happened to the Celtics. Both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were too young to lead, and Thomas looked inspirational in the famous green uniform.
Right now, Thomas can help with a lot of things for the Celtics. First and foremost, he would be able to facilitate and distribute the ball for a squad that badly needs it. Isaiah Thomas is far from a floor general, as he has always been a score-first point guard. However, at his peak, he did an okay job in these areas of the game. Even coming close to that level of playmaking would do wonders for the Celtics, who have huge issues with that segment of basketball. Without a pass-first point guard, they are struggling and mostly rely on isolation plays for Brown and Tatum.
Regardless of basketball, this would just warm hearts around the NBA. Isaiah Thomas famously played a playoff game only a day after the death of his sister, showing how committed he was to the Celtics. Unfortunately for him, basketball reasons kept him from spending the rest of his career in Boston, as Kyrie Irving became available. In the end, Thomas could never come back to the same level, but maybe TD Garden sparks some magic back into him.
2. New Orleans Pelicans
Yet another of Isaiah Thomas’ former teams, the Pelicans actually signed the guard for three games in the 2020-21 season. Unfortunately for Thomas, it did not work out, but the Pelicans need to reconsider their decision. They are in dire need of some offense, especially from the guard spots. According to NBA.com/stats, the Pelicans are the fourth-worst team in guard scoring and the ninth-worst team in guard 3-point percentage. Thomas is not the ultimate resolution of those problems, but he is a start.
In his short Lakers stint, Thomas did not do too well, but that is not surprising. He shot abysmal percentages from the field (barely over 30%) and 3-point range (22.7%), but that is no reason to doubt his ability. He might not be able to channel prime IT, but he could definitely help in some regards. With the Pelicans, he could slowly regain the form and could be a boost as Zion Williamson continues to recover.
Another important part where Thomas can help is veteran leadership. Most of the key players on the Pelicans are somewhat young, and it is clear that the team lacks guidance. Jonas Valanciunas was a good addition in this regard, but his resume is nowhere near that of Thomas. It is not only that Thomas was so good in his prime, it is also the way he arrived at that level and his recent stint out of the league. With young players, especially in the modern NBA, complacency is a common issue. If Thomas can come in and explain how important it is to stay focused and motivated, the Pelicans would surely be better than they are right now.
Whichever team gives Isaiah Thomas the opportunity he deserves, they will not make a mistake. His impact on the team cannot be measured in pure numbers. As explained above, the story of IT can be such an inspiration to any player coming into the league. It can also be a show of perseverance, work, and how to remain focused and faithful in your own ability. In basketball terms, he can provide stability, distribution, and a lot of scoring — if put in the right spot on the team. Thus, even if it is not these two mentioned teams, someone needs to sign Thomas right away.