As most people have speculated – the Lakers have been trying for quite awhile to clear up salaries to go after LeBron James if he decides to opt out of his contract in Cleveland, as well as targeting Paul George in free agency this off-season. It is all about LA clearing salary up. Isaiah Thomas was traded to the LA Lakers after having his own share of issues in Cleveland, by clashing with his teammates, as well as the coaching staff. Thomas had criticized the coaches and their decision making as well as starting a series of troubles in the locker-room
Looking back, the Thomas for Kyrie to Boston trade may very well go down as one of the worst of all time. Kyrie has been nothing but superstar level for the Celtics with 25ppg along with dynamic shooting, and the C’s are sitting in the top end of the East. And Isaiah Thomas is now on his way to his 5th team in 7 seasons, while just putting up 14ppg, this season, with immeasurably poor shooting. Some felt the Cavs were forced into the Kyrie trade, and in some ways they were, as Kyrie wanted out, and Cleveland traded him for what they could get. And it is turning out to be a disaster, still. And if Kyrie had not been so adamant and forceful about wanting out, there’s just no way Cleveland would have even considered that deal.
Thomas’s game looked to have regressed in a big way, and had again, shown to be a huge defensive liability. While knocking down just 25% from 3 and a pitiful 36% from the floor, on the whole, was just awful. The Cavs defensive issues at many times were based on when he was in the game, it seemed as if they were playing 4 on 5, when he was on the court. Thomas had made it work in Boston, by dropping 29ppg, in his last season there, because he was on a team with great team defense that helped hide his defensive weakness. His defensive problems made him a very bad fit on the Cavs. This trade can be looked at, and analyzed, but it doesn’t really make the Cavs that much better – but it also isn’t making them that much worse with IT having been such a sieve on defense.
The Cavs picked up Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr. as the key components and the Lakers got Channing Frye, and Thomas, is the story of this trade. I’m not really sure why Clarkson and Nance were the players that were so sought after. But I would have to think they will be better on defense, and I guess that is what the Cavs were looking to get.
The Lakers had also been trying to dump Clarkson’s contract for quite some time. He was not worth what he was making, and quite honestly, they really didn’t need him. Which comes to the core of this trade showing to be a strategic move to unload contracts. The Lakers pick up 2 expiring contracts as well as a 1st round pick. It isn’t going to matter for this season, this move signals they are focusing on the 2018 free agency.
And the Lakers will be sure to be making a push for LeBron and Paul George. I think Brandon Ingram is going to be a very good player, I believe there’s a great chance he is going to develop into a superstar. He has come along this season, with his shot, his aggressiveness, and his hustle. And Kyle Kuzma is a true stud, with a nice shot, and a knack to put the ball in the basket. But, the Lakers need a shooting guard upgrade, George can fill that in, and James can always help out on the court, if they pull the right strings, they can even put him at PF.
Isaiah Thomas is a high volume shooter, in Boston he was the man, and he was also very importantly, their leader. He wasn’t going to be that in LeBron-land and he wasn’t going to have the green light to chuck it off the dribble whenever he saw fit, not with James calling the shots.
When a player gets traded as often as Thomas has, you have to start to think there is something about him that isn’t working with everyone else, there has to be. Whether it is personality, playing with him on the court, or a bad attitude, there is something that needs adjusting. He has proven to be able to put pts up on the scoreboard, but 5 teams in 7 seasons, is not a great resume.
This move is nothing more than an opportunity to showcase IT. Give him some playing time and let him get his forced shots up, pump up that trade value for the off-season. As Isaiah Thomas and Frye are on expiring contracts. Does anyone really think the Lakers are going to hand the keys to Thomas, after drafting Lonzo 2nd overall? It isn’t happening. This move sets them up to do some big time damage in free agency. He wont be wearing the purple and gold next season…mark my words.