NBA

Isaiah Thomas lands with Denver Nuggets to begin attempted comeback to stardom

Jay Asser 22:30 13/07/2018
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Isaiah Thomas will join his fourth team in two seasons.

Isaiah Thomas has a new home where he can prove himself all over again.

The former All-Star guard will join his fourth team in two years after agreeing to a one-year, $2 million deal with the Denver Nuggets, according to ESPN.

The move caps an turbulent 12 months for the 29-year-old, who settled for the veteran’s minimum with Denver after last summer declaring himself a max contract player and saying the Boston Celtics would have to “bring the Brinks truck out” to re-sign him.

Now, Thomas will attempt to rebuild his value to capture an elusive payday in free agency next summer.

In the Nuggets, Thomas joins a young team poised and talented enough to make a playoff run. He’ll also reunite with head coach Mike Malone, who coached Thomas when he was on the Sacramento Kings in 2013-14.

Thomas is expected to come off the bench, but play significant minutes, as he did in the second half of last season as a sixth man for the Los Angeles Lakers, and in 214-15 when he split time with the Phoenix Suns and Celtics.

It may not be a tailor-made role where Thomas can start, carry the scoring load and put up All-Star numbers, but that kind of opportunity was going to be difficult for him to come by this summer after his disappointing 2017-18 campaign.

Following his 2016-17 season in which he averaged 28.9 points and finished fifth in MVP voting, Thomas was traded last August to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of a package for Kyrie Irving.

He only appeared in 15 games for the Cavaliers and averaged 14.7 points on 36.1 per cent shooting before being traded to the Lakers, where he finished the year by averaging 15.6 points on 32.7 per cent shooting.

Thomas’ hip injury, which he suffered while he was in Boston, was part of the reason why the Celtics shipped him to Cleveland and why he struggled so much on the court at his next two stops. In March, he underwent hip surgery with the hope of putting the injury completely in the rear-view mirror, but it’s yet to be seen if Thomas can still be the player he once was.

If he can return to full health – a big ‘if’ considering the seriousness of hip injuries and the impact they can have on a 5-foot-9, undersized player – Thomas has the chance to write another chapter in his underdog story.

As someone who was taken with the last pick in the draft back in 2011 and then passed around the league before turning into an MVP candidate, Thomas has already proven he can blow away expectations.

If he’s still capable of being a star player in this league, Thomas has an opportunity – perhaps a final one – to show that.

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