IT has moved right in to a leadership role.
Nearly every Nuggets player had something to say about Isaiah Thomas. Thomas himself had a lot to say about his path to Denver and his relationship with coach Michael Malone.
Thomas’ path last season had to be discouraging for the all-star. Sent from Boston to Cleveland in the blockbuster Kyrie Irving deal, Thomas had rumored clashes with the Cavs. Sometimes, a big personality like IT’s can clash with established guys, particularly megastars like LeBron James. Cleveland also reportedly did not respect the timeline for Thomas’ hip injury and pressured the guard into an early return.
Nothing substantiated but the Cavs chose to send Thomas to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal to try to shake up the Cleveland team.
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Thomas spent his season coming off of the Lakers bench with varying success. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his hip and shut down his ’17-’18 campaign on March 29th. This is the surgery and injury that is keeping Thomas from full team activities and which has no timetable for his return.
Thomas comes to the Nuggets on a vet minimum deal, using the opportunity to connect with former coach Malone to reignite his career and all-star chops.
It couldn’t be a better fit for either side. Thomas brings a leadership and a vocal confidence that has been missing from Denver’s locker room since Kenyon Martin. The Nuggets young core already had a bit of swagger, Thomas pushes that even higher.
Denver players are already happy and engaged with IT and he with them. It’s turned out to be a perfect fit and who among us doesn’t believe that Isaiah looks completely at-home rocking that Nuggets zero on his chest?
With a nod to the Malone assist, the Thomas signing belongs among the best moves Team President Tim Connelly has made.