It took mere minutes following the Cavaliers-Lakers trade that involved Cleveland sending Isaiah Thomas to Los Angeles for even more drama to ensue. That was because, despite the Lakers already having a point guard that they are most certainly going to play as much as possible in Lonzo Ball, Thomas’ agent informed ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that IT was NOT going to come off the bench.
Nichols also reported that Thomas’ agent informed her that they would rather have a buyout of his contract than for Thomas to come off the bench.
When asked about Thomas’ demands to start by Allie LaForce, Magic Johnson told her, “Lonzo is our starting point guard. And that hasn’t changed. It’s not about starting, it’s about minutes and he’s gonna get a lot of minutes.”
Today, Isaiah Thomas’ agent Aaron Goodwin, who blamed LeBron James for hogging the ball in Cleveland, has clarified, sort of, how Thomas feels about playing for the team he rooted for as a kid, insisting IT is “ecstatic” to join the Lakers.
Goodwin, who also happens to have at one time represented LeBron James early in his career, spoke with USA TODAY Sports about the trade. Here’s a little of what he had to say.
Q: Did it surprise you how sideways everything became (in Cleveland)? I mean, Isaiah fights for seven months to get back, and he has his future on the line, the whole situation had to be frustrating.
A: You’re absolutely right. He fought to get himself in this position so he could be healthy and play. To kind of be hindered a little bit was frustrating. Although he was trying to fight through it and trying to be a good team player, this was not his style of play. I think that it became clear over the course of the last few weeks that (the Cavs) would have to figure out some type of way to utilize two players at the same time, and it wasn’t going to work.
Q: He said the day before the deal that he wanted to be somewhere where he was wanted, and that he was tired of being traded. Have you talked to him, and what’s his reaction to the deal?
A: His reaction is exactly that. He wanted to be somewhere where he’s wanted, and he wanted to be in Cleveland.
Following his comments to ESPN, USA Today followed up with Goodwin to discuss the question of Thomas coming off the bench behind Lonzo Ball, something IT has gone on record as saying he really does not want to do.
Goodwin’s response was, “I have no idea what the role will be for either of them. That’s really going to be up to (coach) Luke (Walton) and the Lakers.”
Q: Is it safe to assume, though, that he wouldn’t be coming to town if there wasn’t a certain level of comfort with the opportunity? You guys could have forced a buyout and looked at other options.
A: Once he spoke to (Lakers president of basketball operations) Magic (Johnson) and (general manager) Rob (Pelinka), he was ecstatic about the opportunity. It’s clear that he’ll get a chance to play, and play up-tempo like he has played throughout his career. And that’s all we can ask for. That was our biggest concern.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Especially once LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s dad, decides to start chiming in, because that is most certainly going to happen.
Until then, please enjoy this excellent Isaiah Thomas tribute video that takes a look back at his storied 15-game run with the Cavaliers.
Here’s a tribute to Cleveland Cavaliers legend Isaiah Thomas… pic.twitter.com/Tx8XBJYI0V
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 8, 2018