The Lakers acquired Thomas and his expiring contract, worth $6.2 million, from the Cleveland Cavaliers at the trade deadline in February. The trade was essential to clearing the cap space necessary to sign LeBron James to a max contract. The Lakers also received a first-round pick in the trade, later used to select Moritz Wagner.
Upon arrival, Thomas wasn’t expected to re-sign with the Lakers unless he was willing to take a massive paycut. However, as it turns out, they weren’t planning on bringing him back even on those terms.
Instead, the team signed veteran point guard Rajon Rondo to a one-year deal worth $9 million, effectively ruling out a return for Thomas. Rondo will reportedly compete with Lonzo Ball for the starting point guard spot.
It was only a season ago Thomas was leading the Boston Celtics to playoff wins in the fourth quarter. However, a nagging hip injury that required season-ending surgery ultimately led to Thomas signing a veteran’s minimum contract.
Thomas averaged 15.6 points on a career-low 37.3 percent from the field and 5 assists per game this season.
In Denver, Thomas will have a chance to rebuild his value on a playoff contender that has been searching for some semblance of stability at the point guard position. It’s highly unlikely he’ll start, but he’ll undoubtedly have a meaningful role off the bench.
If Thomas rediscovers the form that led to two All-Star selections while he was in Boston, the Nuggets got a great value. Unfortunately for Thomas, the Lakers didn’t feel they were in a position to take that risk on the 30-year-old.
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