BOSTON (CBS) — Isaiah Thomas’ wild year continues.
He went from Boston Celtics hero to Cleveland Cavaliers whipping boy in the span of a few months, and now he’s heading to Los Angeles to don purple and gold for the Lakers. What a roller coaster for the 5-foot-9 guard.
The Cavaliers traded Thomas, Channing Frye and their 2018 first-round pick to Los Angeles for point guard Jordan Clarkson and power forward/center Larry Nance. They improve their mess of a franchise for the rest of the season, getting a solid point guard in Clarkson who, at the moment, is a much better offensive option than Thomas.
Thomas played in just 15 games for the Cavaliers after being traded to Cleveland (along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the coveted Brooklyn Nets 2018 first-round pick) in the offseason for Kyrie Irving, averaging 14.7 points off just 36 percent shooting from the floor and 25 percent from three-point range. He missed the first half of the season as he recovered from a lingering hip injury, and was never really given a chance to fit in by his new teammates in Cleveland.
Now he’s on the Lakers, who grabbed a pair of players on expiring contracts in the swap, clearing up space for two max contracts to use over the next two offseasons. That’ll give them the flexibility they wanted to make a run at LeBron James if/when he opts out of his contract with the Cavs.
ESPN is reporting that Los Angeles plans on keeping both Thomas and Frye for the rest of the season and will not buy out the two players, so don’t expect an IT reunion in Boston.
How does this trade relate to the Celtics? Well, they own the Lakers first-round pick in 2018, just as long as it lands between picks 2-5. Los Angeles just gave up a pair of players who helped them win some games, and in return got a recovering Thomas and role player in Fyre. They’re currently 22-31 on the season, the ninth-worst record at the moment, so if Thomas wants to really stick it to Danny Ainge, he can help the Lakers win some games and make sure the Celtics don’t land a high lottery pick at the end of the season.