After more than an entire year out of the NBA, former All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas has found a new home. The veteran will sign a 10-day contract with the New Orleans Pelicans, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Thomas spent much of last season with the Washington Wizards, averaging 12.2 points and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point land. But at the trade deadline, he was sent to the Los Angeles Clippers, who immediately waived him. He then went unsigned in free agency and has been out of the league ever since.
Now, he'll get another chance to show he still belongs. He'll also get a chance to show that he's fully healthy. Thomas' hip has been an issue ever since his last season with the Boston Celtics, but in October he revealed he underwent another procedure that has left him "pain free" for the first time in years.
"It's like night and day for me," Thomas said. "There's no more pain. I've got my full range of motion. For three years, I was trying to play the best players in the world on one leg. I needed help from my kids to put my socks on in the morning."
"Now, I can lift weights," Thomas continued. "I can squat low. I can work out twice a day. I'm able to cut and move and stop, able to cut and go. I feel like I'm 31 years old again. And now, I have scientific evidence to show that."
Though always at something of a disadvantage because of his height, Thomas was such a terrific offensive player before the injury because no one could stop him from getting to his spots, and he was a strong 3-point shooter. The shooting is still there, but without that same quickness and athleticism, he just wasn't elite enough on offense to offset his deficiencies.
It obviously remains to be seen how much he'll get to play with the Pelicans, but the fit makes sense. The Pels weren't a good 3-point shooting team even before they traded JJ Redick at the deadline, and their guard play has been inconsistent at best. Thomas will give coach Stan Van Gundy another veteran option in the backcourt, and his shooting will help space the floor for Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. Of course, Thomas will be a liability on the defensive end, but the Pelicans are already rank No. 28 in the league, so it's not like he'll make things much worse.