Isaiah Thomas open to returning to Lakers, even in backup role
Isaiah Thomas revealed this week he is open to returning to the Los Angeles Lakers next season, even if that means being relegated to a backup point guard role behind Lonzo Ball.
Thomas did admit to a preference for starting, however, and said he will examine all available options in free agency over the summer.
“I like it here, I like the situation I’m in, the system, coaching staff,” Thomas said, via The Los Angeles Times. “Organization’s been great to me. If things work out I would love to be here. You just never know. With free agency you’ve got to keep your options open. I have no complaints since I’ve stepped foot and put a Laker uniform on.”
In 16 games as a Laker, Thomas has averaged 15.6 points and 5.2 rebounds, with all but one of his appearances coming as a backup. Thomas, 29, would appear to indicate he has bigger career aspirations than those afforded to spot duty coming off the bench.
“I want to be great,” Thomas said. “I want to win MVP, I want to continue to be an All-Star. Their goals probably aren’t that yet. Coming straight into the league especially at 19, 20 years old. They’re in it for the experience just to figure things out on their own. And then on top of getting to the playoffs and winning championships, I want all that and it might not be their mindset yet. But at the same time being on this team I’m trying to put that in their heads that you can do whatever you put your mind to. Why not think big?”
It goes without saying that Thomas has experienced a whirlwind of drastic career developments since going down with the hip injury during last year’s playoffs while still a member of the Celtics. which began with him shockingly being dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers, a move that clearly stung Thomas.
While it’s intriguing how Thomas insists he would accept being a backup next season with the Lakers, there is something about the fiery point guard that suggests it would be a bitter pill to swallow.