Isaiah Thomas recently took a step closer to his mission to play in the NBA again after officially signing with the Denver Nuggets’ G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Gold. At 32, IT is hoping for another shot at the big league, and in a recent interview, he revealed just how close he was to achieving this dream with the Los Angeles Lakers last summer.

Speaking to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Thomas opened up about his botched move to the Lakers during the offseason. According to the two-time All-Star, he firmly believes that the only reason why he isn’t playing alongside LeBron right now is because of Rajon Rondo:

“I was very close,” Thomas said. “I really believe if the Rondo buyout didn’t happen, I would have been a Laker,” Thomas said. “All respect to Rondo and respect to the Lakers organization. I was around those guys a liitle bit. I was able to work out with ‘Bron and Westbrook. So they’ve seen me in my element and they’ve seen me back to the person I am.”

Thomas worked out with the Lakers during the summer right before LA finalized its roster for the 2021-22 season. This was before Rondo saw himself traded from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves immediately decided to waive Rondo, which allowed the Lakers to pick him up from the wire. In Thomas’ mind, he would have been in Rondo’s place right now if only his buyout with Minnesota didn’t happen.

That would not have been Thomas’ first dance in Hollywood. The 5-foot-9 combo guard played 17 games for the Lakers during the second half of the 2017-18 season. IT still remembers that stint fondly and at this point, he can only hope that he gets another chance:

“Things happen, I can’t control that but I was very close to signing with the Lakers,” Thomas continued. “That would probably been a really good opportunity to be able to play with such great players and to be able to learn from them great players. Be in an organization like the Lakers again, that would have been super dope but it didn’t happen. You gotta move forward.”

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Thomas is a fan favorite wherever he goes so we’re really rooting for him here. Even if it’s not with the Lakers, we hope that another team in the NBA decides to give this man another shot at it. He absolutely deserves it.