ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news Thursday night:
Free agent guard Isaiah Thomas has agreed to a one-year deal with the Denver Nuggets, league sources tell ESPN. Thomas will reunite with Michael Malone, who coached him with the Kings.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 13, 2018
Isaiah Thomas Agrees to One-Year Contract
Thomas’s contract will run through the end of next season, making him a free agent once again next summer.
Thomas’ fairytale run in the 2016-17 NBA season came to a painful halt last year, when injuries prevented him from making an early impact. Once he got healthy, Thomas was never the same player as he’d been in Boston. Playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers and then the Los Angeles Lakers, Thomas only suited up for 32 games, in which he averaged 15.2 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 4.8 assists. But Thomas shot just 37.3 percent from the field and 29.3 percent on three-pointers, both poor efficiency. His player efficiency rating of 12.6 was also down from his career average PER, 20.5, by a sizable amount. Thomas struggled throughout the whole season.
Looking ahead, Thomas seems suitable enough to either start at point guard or be the sixth man for the Nuggets. He will potentially add a potent scoring punch to Denver’s offense. Thomas still possesses the ability to take over a game, even though his best days are almost certainly behind him. For the Nuggets, Thomas could be an important piece moving forward. And as Wojnarowski reported, Thomas is reunited with his old coach Mike Malone, with whom he had success in Sacramento. However, Thomas is arguably the worst defender in the NBA, and Denver’s defense was already poor prior to acquiring him.
This is a low-risk, high-reward move for the Nuggets. With the veteran minimum for a single season, Denver can always cut all ties to Thomas next summer if this works out badly. But if Thomas has success with the Nuggets and returns even close to his old form, he’ll be a huge weapon for Denver’s already excellent offense. Thomas may be inclined to re-sign with the Nuggets for a larger salary next summer if the pairing works out well for both sides.
The 29-year-old Thomas is going into his eighth season as an NBA pro.
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