Los Angeles Lakers: Should Isaiah Thomas be an option?

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Free-agent Isaiah Thomas represents a possibility for the Los Angels Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers passed the trade deadline without making any move. It was not actually seen as a problem as they were confident they could address their needs on the buyout market with a free agent signing.

The Lakers’ most glaring need is a player off the bench who can give LeBron James some rest. Someone who sets up the team, controls the tempo, creates for himself and for the others and possibly plays some D.

Most notably, Darren Collison was a strong possibility to join the purple and gold as a free agent, but the 6-foot guard eventually decided to not come out from retirement and postpone his comeback until at least next season.

This came as a huge blow for LA as Collison was the answer to their need. He checked all the boxes and after spotting him at a Lakers game alongside Jeanie Buss, it looked like a done deal.

Vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka will now have to look elsewhere in the free agent market to add someone to backup LeBron, and after the trade deadline, the so-called “buyout market” is always an interesting pool to look at, where some gems might come off.

Curiously, a name who has not been mentioned yet in any rumor is Isaiah Thomas. After landing in Los Angeles on the Clippers side in the trade that earned them Marcus Morris, the 5’9″ guard was waived and he is currently a free agent.

Thomas would be an interesting option for the Lakers. A player who certainly knows how to lead a team and is not afraid to run the show taking big responsibilities.

After his MVP season in Boston, hip injuries turned him down, but he is still more than worthy at sparks off the bench. This season, in 40 games with the Washington Wizards, he averaged 12.2 points and 3.7 assists in 23.1 minutes per game, shooting a career-high 41.3 percent from three.

It is impressive since he is playing in an offense that did not revolve around him, rather structured to create opportunities for All-Star snub Bradley Beal, who is currently scoring 29.1 points per game.

After recovering from the hip surgery he, understandably, has not received the chance to prove he still is the king of the fourth quarter who electrified Boston. But, he has done well with what he has been given. In his two seasons in Denver and Washington, he averaged 19 points and 5.5 assists per 36 minutes. He can still be a good complementary piece.

In his first stint in a purple and gold uniform in 2018, he had good success revitalizing a team that clearly was missing a soul.

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With the ball in his hands, he is a dangerous threat at the rim and the 3-point shot does not allow defenders to dare him on the arc.

Offensively, he is everything the Lakers are looking for. A replacement for LeBron who can run the show while the King is on the bench, and create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates, avoiding the team to sync and scatter without a centripetal force to keep them together. He can score at bunches without requiring to play too many minutes, and he can also share the floor with LeBron acting as just a scorer.

So, is he a good fit for LA? The answer is “probably no”.

As good as he is offensively, Isaiah would be a huge problem on the defensive end. His defensive deficiencies are well documented, way before his injuries. It is dubious how beneficial his offense would be if his defense, at the same time, badly hurts the team (which is already showing some cracks defensive-wise).

On the other end, other names mentioned as possible Lakers targets, such as Tyler Johnson and Dion Waiters, are not known for their defensive prowess either. This makes Thomas a viable candidate and an intriguing option.

Next. 10 Worst Free Agent Signings In Lakers History. dark

After all, the waive market is a place where rarely teams can find the perfect answer to their needs. They mostly have to settle for the best available and hope it can plug the biggest holes and help the team achieve his goals.