Last week, NBA insider Marc Stein reported that the Los Angeles Lakers were looking for a “backcourt punch” with one of their three final roster spots, and that Isaiah Thomas was one of the options they were considering.
On Tuesday, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that Thomas got a workout, but Thomas wasn’t the only one that got an opportunity to impress the Lakers’ brass:
The Los Angeles Lakers are actively surveying the landscape to eventually fill out the roster with more depth, and have done so in recently working out Isaiah Thomas, Darren Collison and Mike James, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
A signing is not imminent, sources said. The Lakers could also elect to bring players into training camp to fight for the last few roster spots.
The thing that sets Thomas apart from Mike James and Darren Collison, though, is that he reportedly got an additional workout in with two of the Lakers’ stars, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, on Tuesday morning. If it weren’t for that, it would be hard to distinguish a clear favorite among the group.
Thomas is a two-time All-Star who’s played alongside James before, but last season, he wasn’t able to secure a guaranteed contract with the New Orleans Pelicans and was waived after just three appearances. The season prior to that, he had to undergo surgery to repair his right hip.
Meanwhile, Collison is a great fit with the Lakers’ roster in theory, but he hasn’t played a game of NBA basketball since the 2018-19 season. Collison considered coming out of retirement to play for one of the Los Angeles teams in 2020, but he opted to stay retired instead.
James is the only player of the group the Lakers worked out that played NBA basketball last season. In April, James signed a deal with the Nets for the remainder of the 2020-21 season and appeared in 22 games for them, including nine playoff games. He’s also the youngest of the aforementioned trio at age 30.
It’s unlikely that Collison, James and Thomas will play a meaningful role for the Lakers, but it’s clear that the front office wants to have some insurance at the point guard position after the adversity they faced with injuries last season. We’ll see if any of these guys are their answer, or if they go another direction entirely in the days and weeks to come.