Isaiah Thomas’ stint with the L.A. Lakers isn’t starting off on a positive note.
Just a day after telling the media that he didn’t want to be traded at all, the Cleveland Cavaliers sent to the outspoken point guard to the Lakers in a massive deadline day trade. The problem is that the Lakers already have a point guard in young Lonzo Ball, the second overall pick in the 2017 draft that L.A. hopes will be a big part of their rebuild back into relevancy.
While Thomas might be the better player right now, the Lakers are concerned about winning in two or three years. Getting Ball some more NBA experience on a nightly basis is higher on their priority list. On ESPN’s The Jump on Thursday, reporter Ramona Shelbourne claimed the Lakers want Thomas to join the reserves. Rachel Nichols reported she received a text from Thomas’ agent claiming “HE’S NOT COMING OFF THE BENCH.”
Wow Rachel said that IT3’s agent just texted her and said, “He’s not coming off the bench.”
Ramona stood by her stance. Insists he likely will not start.
Rachel said they’d rather have a buyout if he’s not starting.
— Ry (@JustRyCole) February 8, 2018
Despite the early line drawn in the sand by the newest member of the Lakers, the powers that be in L.A. — team president Magic Johnson and head coach Luke Walton — immediately shot down the idea that Thomas would supplant Ball as starting point guard.
“Lonzo is our starting point guard. And that hasn’t changed,” Magic said when asked how him and IT will fit together. “It’s not about starting, it’s about minutes and he’s gonna get a lot of minutes” @NBAonTNT @NBATV @Lakers
— Allie LaForce (@ALaForce) February 8, 2018
Luke Walton envisions Lonzo Ball and Isaiah Thomas playing in the same backcourt together, regardless of the fact they both play PG, Walton said.
Lonzo Ball (knee) feels better than he has in a long while, Walton added. There’s a chance Ball practices tomorrow, but no guarantee.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) February 8, 2018
At least the Lakers only have to deal with the situation, however they end up handling it, for a few more months. At that point, Thomas becomes an unrestricted free agent and the Lakers can concentrate on the big fish.