Isaiah Thomas

Pacific Notes: Thomas, Thompson, Kawhi, Harden, Jones

Having earned a rest-of-season commitment from the Suns, Isaiah Thomas isn’t looking to just play out this season and then call it a career. He views his comeback this spring as a “stepping stone” toward continuing his playing career beyond 2023/24, he told reporters on Tuesday (Twitter video link via Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic).

“I want to play two to three more years,” Thomas said. “Knowing that I can still play a high level, knowing that I can still impact a locker room. That’s a positive, being able to be signed for the rest of the year and to hopefully build some momentum going into next year for myself, and into free agency.”

Thomas added that he appreciates the Suns welcoming him “with open arms” and that he likes it “a lot” in Phoenix, signaling that he’d be open to remaining with the team beyond this season if that interest is reciprocated.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Asked by teammate Draymond Green on his podcast about what factors will be most important to him during his upcoming free agency, Warriors wing Klay Thompson admitted that his contract situation weighed on him earlier this season and that it took some time for him to stop stressing about it and focus on having fun. “I want to re-sign with the Dubs, but I also have to prioritize my mental health and lay out what is important to me at this point in my career,” Thompson said (Twitter video link).
  • Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard will miss a fifth consecutive game due to right knee inflammation on Tuesday vs. Phoenix, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Los Angeles is a single win away from clinching a top-six seed and a playoff berth, but will obviously need Leonard healthy to make a deep postseason run.
  • James Harden‘s status for Tuesday’s game is up in the air, as he has been added to the Clippers‘ injury report with right foot inflammation, notes Youngmisuk (Twitter link).
  • Could Colby Jones join the likes of Keon Ellis and Davion Mitchell and become the latest Kings youngster to go from out of the rotation to playing a key role? Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee explores that question after Jones played the final six minutes of Friday’s loss to Boston and then logged a career-high 23 minutes in Sunday’s blowout win over Brooklyn. Jones was a +34 in 29 total minutes across those two appearances.

Suns Sign Isaiah Thomas For Rest Of Season

APRIL 9: Thomas’ rest-of-season contract with the Suns is now official, per’s transaction log.

APRIL 8: The Suns intend to make veteran guard Isaiah Thomas playoff-eligible by signing him for the rest of the 2023/24 season, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Thomas signed a pair of 10-day contracts with Phoenix, the second of which expires tonight. The 35-year-old will fill the 15th and final spot on the Suns’ standard roster.

A former two-time All-Star, Thomas had been out of the NBA for a couple years prior to getting another shot with Phoenix. He has only played 14 minutes of garbage time across four appearances this season, but he has reportedly played well in practices and has drawn praise from head coach Frank Vogel for being a good locker room presence.

Thomas, who has played for 10 different teams in his 12 seasons, will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 first reported around the time that Thomas signed his first 10-day deal last month that he was expected to eventually get a rest-of-season commitment from the Suns.

The move signals that Saben Lee and Phoenix’s other two-way players will remain on their current contracts and won’t become playoff-eligible.

Suns Notes: Young, Thomas, Durant, Thunder

Given a rare opportunity to crack the rotation on Wednesday in Denver with Jusuf Nurkic out, Suns forward Thaddeus Young played well, posting six points, nine rebounds, and a +15 mark in 18 minutes of action.

However, Young was a DNP-CD again in Oklahoma City on Friday, with head coach Frank Vogel explaining this week that the team views the veteran as a small-ball center who’s a better fit in some matchups than others, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

“That’s why we didn’t go out and get just another guy that’s the same as Drew (Eubanks) and Nurk,” Vogel said. “We went out and got somebody that has a little bit of a different dynamic. I think in a next-man-up setting like this, it helps, but if you get in a playoff series where there’s certain matchups that we’re struggling against, you have somebody that can give a different element to our attack. We’re excited to have him.”

According to Young, he and the Suns had conversations before he signed with the club about the certain lineups and sets he might be used in, so he’s not bothered by the fact that his minutes have been sporadic.

“I’m battle tested. I’m prepared to not play a whole bunch of games just like I did and go in and walk right in and fit like a glove. For me, it’s never going to be about the minute aspect of it,” Young said. “Yeah, I would love to play a lot of minutes. I would love to continue to be able to play at such a high level, but at the end of the day, whatever coaches, staff and the team needs me to do, I’m going to do it.”

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • After word broke that he was signing a second 10-day contract with Phoenix, Isaiah Thomas said he’s “super thankful” for the opportunity that he’s gotten from the club, according to Rankin. The veteran guard has appeared briefly in just two of six games as a Sun so far, but he has reportedly looked good in practice and earned praise from Vogel for his locker room presence. “He’s been a really important voice,” Vogel said on Friday. “Two-time All-Star that guys respect and he’s got a high IQ. So he can point out things that we can do better, we’re not doing well enough. Everybody in the locker room respects him and likes him and his voice carries weight. That’s what you want with guys in those type of roles.”
  • The Suns have slipped out of the top six in the Western Conference and have the NBA’s most difficult remaining schedule, but Kevin Durant believes that, with the postseason around the corner, the club has done a good job building chemistry. For the most part, we understand each other. We see each other’s tendencies,” Durant said (Twitter video link via Rankin). “That’s what you want from a group is to start to understand each other more. We’re doing that.”
  • Following Friday’s loss in Oklahoma City, Vogel called on the NBA to take a closer look at “all the flopping” that Thunder wing Luguentz Dort does (Twitter video link via Rankin). “It’s ridiculous how he gets calls,” Vogel said. “If they’re going to get calls like that, they’re going to have an advantage. You can’t just fall down every time there’s contact and get a whistle.” Given that the Thunder are a potential first-round playoff opponent for the Suns, Vogel’s comments come off as a “preemptive working of the referees” for that possible matchup, suggests Kurt Helin of NBC Sports.

Suns Sign Isaiah Thomas To Second 10-Day Deal

MARCH 30: The Suns have officially signed Thomas to a second 10-day contract, the team announced today (via Twitter). The deal will run through April 8.

MARCH 29: The Suns intend to bring back veteran guard Isaiah Thomas on a second 10-day contract, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link).

As our Luke Adams wrote this morning, Thomas’ first 10-day deal is set to expire at midnight ET. The 35-year-old has only played two garbage-time minutes with Phoenix thus far, but he has received praise from his coaches and teammates for his performances in practices and pickup games.

Prior to his stint with the Suns, the 12-year veteran had been out of the NBA since the 2021/22 season, when he made brief appearances with the Lakers and Mavericks before ending the year with the Hornets.

Thomas was an All-Star with Boston in ’15/16 and ’16/17 before suffering a right hip injury that derailed his career. He bounced around the league after that, and most of his recent stops have been on 10-day contracts.

Once Thomas’ second 10-day contract expires, the Suns will have to decide whether or not they want to sign him for the rest of the season in order to make him eligible for the postseason. Phoenix is in a very tight playoff race, currently sitting with a 43-30 record, which is good for the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.

Suns Notes: Thomas, Nurkic, Beal, Young

Isaiah Thomas, whose 10-day contract with the Suns will expire following Friday’s game in Oklahoma City, hasn’t had a chance to make much of an impression in his first five games with the team, logging just 1:48 of garbage-time action in his lone appearance last Wednesday.

Still, the veteran guard has earned praise from his coaches and teammates based on his performances in practices and pickup games, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic details. Devin Booker told reporters that Thomas looks “great,” while Josh Okogie said the 35-year-old has been “the Isaiah we all know.”

“He’s looked really good,” head coach Frank Vogel said after watching Thomas participate in a pickup game on Tuesday. “Healthy and still can fill it up. He can shoot it. He can attack in pick-and-rolls and he’s a hell of a passer, too.”

According to Vogel, the Suns will make a decision on a possible second 10-day deal for Thomas once his initial contract expires. With more than two weeks left in the regular season, the team is in position to potentially give Thomas 10 more days before having to make a decision on whether to commit to him for the rest of the season.

“I’m just taking it day by day,” Thomas said, per Rankin. “I hope I’m here the rest of the way because I know I can help, whether I’m playing or not. I know my voice helps. My leadership helps. My experience helps, but that’s out of my control. I’m just here taking it day-by-day and doing what I can and controlling the things I can control and that’s by being a great teammate each and every day.”

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • After missing Wednesday’s win in Denver due to a right ankle sprain, Suns center Jusuf Nurkic is considered questionable to return on Friday in Oklahoma City, per the official injury report. Drew Eubanks earned his fifth start of the season on Wednesday with Nurkic out and would presumably remain in the starting five if the Bosnian big man is unable to go tonight.
  • Bradley Beal played on Wednesday after spraining his right ring finger on Monday and isn’t on Friday’s injury report. He told reporters that he’ll likely have pain in that finger for a few weeks, but intends to play through it (Twitter video link via Rankin).
  • Beal and Booker combined to make just 8-of-28 field goal attempts against the Nuggets. However, as Rankin writes for The Arizona Republic, Kevin Durant scored 30 points and the Suns’ bench outscored Denver’s reserves by 14 as Phoenix bounced back from Monday’s disappointing loss to the Victor Wembanyama-less Spurs to beat the defending champs on the road.
  • One of the Suns’ reserves who came up big on Wednesday was Thaddeus Young, a buyout market addition who hadn’t seen much action yet for Phoenix. He had six points and nine rebounds and was a +15 in 18 minutes vs. Denver. “It’s going to be tough to keep him off the floor now,” Booker said of Young, who also earned praise from Vogel (Twitter video link via Rankin).

Pacific Notes: Thomas, Okogie, Paul, Powell

Isaiah Thomas isn’t content just to be back in the NBA, writes Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. The 35-year-old guard, who signed his 10-day deal with the Suns earlier today, hopes the opportunity will revive his career.

“I want to play a few more years in the league, so hopefully this is a setup for that,” Thomas said. “Whatever the opportunity is, I’m ready to make an impact each and every day. Whether I play or not, it’s bigger than putting the ball in the basket for me. Like, I’m able to lead — lead by example, lead by my experiences and just help in any way possible.”

Coach Frank Vogel said Thomas is a “guy that everyone loves,” but nothing has been promised beyond the initial 10-day deal. Phoenix has an opening on its 15-man roster, and Vogel indicated that the organization wants to see what Thomas can contribute before making a commitment. He added that Thomas fills a need because Saben Lee is running out of games on his two-way contract.

“He’s a very well-liked, respected guy in this league, in this NBA player fraternity, but we’re gonna see where his game is at,” Vogel said of Thomas. “Again, I don’t know how much he’ll play for us. He’s really here from a depth standpoint because Saben Lee only has four games left.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Before tonight’s game, Vogel told reporters that Suns shooting guard Josh Okogie is close to returning from his lower abdominal strain (video link from Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic). Okogie hasn’t played since March 2.
  • Chris Paul talked to Scott Ostler of The San Francisco Chronicle about the role he played in driving Jonathan Kuminga and other young Warriors players to develop their talents. “It’s hard (on the young players), because I’ve got a very strong personality, man, and … it is like a coach, and you should be worried if I ain’t saying nothing to you,” Paul said. “Seriously, I’m just constantly trying to teach and play and compete at the same time.”
  • Clippers swingman Norman Powell is a strong candidate for Sixth Man of the Year honors, notes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Among players who are primarily reserves, Powell ranks third in scoring, second in field goal percentage and three-point shooting percentage and fourth in minutes per game. “I think it would be amazing. It would be a lot for me,” he said. “It would be recognition for the importance for the team and being able to step up and help the team win and just a testament to all my hard work throughout the years. I feel like I’ve always been an underdog, having to earn my stripes and my spot. Even when I do really well one season, the next season it’s not automatically given. I’ve got to work to get it and prove myself.” Powell is dealing with a left leg contusion and it’s uncertain if he’ll play during the team’s two-game road trip, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

Isaiah Thomas Signs 10-Day Deal With Suns

MARCH 20: The signing is official, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports tweets.

MARCH 16: The Suns will add former All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas on a 10-day contract, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The 35-year-old guard recently joined the Salt Lake City Stars in the G League in hopes of landing another NBA opportunity. He showed he still has his scoring touch, averaging 32.5 points in four games while shooting 45% from three-point range.

Thomas will provide another veteran scorer with playoff experience for a Phoenix team that’s locked in a tight race to avoid the play-in tournament. The Suns entered tonight percentage points behind Sacramento for the sixth spot and one game ahead of eighth-place Dallas.

The 11-year veteran has been out of the NBA since the 2021/22 season, when he made brief appearances with the Lakers and Mavericks before ending the year with the Hornets.

Thomas was an All-Star with Boston in 2015/16 and ’16/17 before suffering a right hip injury that derailed his career. He bounced around the league after that, and most of his recent stops have been on 10-day contracts.

Phoenix plays in Milwaukee at noon Central time on Sunday and has a three-day break before its next game, so it’s unclear whether or not Thomas will sign his new deal right away. If his contract begins when the team returns home on Wednesday, he would be eligible for six games over the following 10 days. A second 10-day deal would take him close to the end of the season, but the Suns would have to give him a standard contract to make him eligible for the playoffs.

Phoenix has a roster opening, so a corresponding move won’t be necessary to make room for Thomas, who will earn $183,704 over the course of his 10 days with the team. The Suns will take on a cap hit of $116,075.

Pacific Notes: Thomas, Vezenkov, Ellis, Dinwiddie

Isaiah Thomas is expected to be available for the Suns’ game against Philadelphia on Wednesday, John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM Phoenix tweets.

While the transaction has not officially been finalized yet, Thomas is expected to sign a 10-day contract with the Suns. The 35-year-old guard recently joined the Salt Lake City Stars in the G League in hopes of landing another NBA opportunity. He showed he still has his scoring touch, averaging 32.5 points in four games while shooting 45% from three-point range.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kings rookie forward Sasha Vezenkov (Grade 3 ankle sprain) was a full participant on Monday at the team’s shootaround. He won’t play against the Grizzlies but is making good progress toward a return to action, Sean Cunningham of the Kings Beat podcast tweets. Vezenkov hasn’t played since Feb. 9.
  • The Kings are 6-0 in games that Keon Ellis has started, but the second-year guard told James Ham of The Kings Beat in a Q&A that he tries not to make too much of that stat. “There’s just more basketball to be played, so I don’t get too deep into those things,” he said. “I just try to focus on the next game and just try to lock in for every game, for real. So the record will be whatever it is if I’m as locked in as I can be. I just kinda let it figure itself out, for real.” Ellis signed a three-year contract last month after starting the season on a two-way deal.
  • Lakers guard Spencer Dinwiddie is adjusting to his bench role after starting 48 games for Brooklyn this season. The Raptors waived him after he was traded but Dinwiddie doesn’t feel like a typical backup at this stage of his career. “Obviously, the way (things) shook out in Brooklyn kind of put me more so in this box than my game being in that box,” he said, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link). “It’s not like I’m 35 or coming off injury or washed or anything. … Like, I’m one of them guys. Let’s not get it twisted. But I also understand being a part of a bigger unit.”

Western Notes: J. Green, Doncic, Warriors, Suns, Jazz

Josh Green‘s sprained right ankle is expected to sideline him for at least a couple weeks or so, Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd told reporters, including Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link), on Sunday.

Green had been a key part of Dallas’ rotation in recent weeks, averaging 10.2 points per game on .522/.438/.826 shooting in his past 24 games leading up to Thursday’s contest in Oklahoma City, which he exited after just four minutes when he injured his ankle.

The Mavericks did share some more positive injury news on Sunday, announcing that Luka Doncic will be available vs. Denver this afternoon after missing Thursday’s game due to a hamstring ailment (Twitter link via MacMahon).

Let’s round up a few more items from around the Western Conference:

  • Moses Moody, Kevon Looney, and Dario Saric were all DNP-CDs on Saturday for the Warriors, while Gary Payton II played just seven minutes as head coach Steve Kerr tightened his rotation, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Payton figures to be “peppered into the mix” going forward, Slater says, but Moody is being pushed out of the rotation and Looney and Saric are on the outside looking in. “It is tough,” Stephen Curry said. “Loon, Moses, Dario, probably in that order — especially Loon and Moses — there’s probably going to be times where they’re going to be needed. They’ll be ready. That’s the challenge they face. But this time of year, building an identity of how we want to play, that (tightened rotation is) huge.”
  • Kevin Durant said he’s “excited” for Isaiah Thomas to join the Suns and head coach Frank Vogel called the veteran guard a “hell of a player,” per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Vogel noted that adding Thomas will help Phoenix preserve the four active games remaining on Saben Lee‘s two-way contract.
  • Jazz head coach Will Hardy was upset by how his team played on Saturday vs. Minnesota, telling reporters after the game that there were far too many instances of players attempting to force the issue themselves when teammates were open. “Stats don’t mean s–t. I don’t care about your individual stats,” Hardy said, according to Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. “I don’t care how many points you score. I don’t care what you post on Instagram. It doesn’t matter. It’s a team sport, play to win. And we have to nip this in the bud now because — I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again — there will not be free minutes in this program. So you’re either gonna start learning and you’re going to start playing the right way and you’re gonna start participating with your teammates, or you’re not gonna play.”

Pacific Notes: Davis, Russell, Thomas, Gordon, Curry, Green

Lakers center Anthony Davis was forced to leave Saturday night’s game against Golden State because of an eye contusion, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

The injury occurred in the first half when Davis was accidentally hit in the face by Trayce Jackson-Davis while making a layup. He was able to play a few more minutes, but was eventually removed and declared out for the second half.

Davis suffered from impaired vision and his eye was swollen shut, a source tells McMenamin (Twitter link). He will be monitored tonight and Sunday before a determination is made about whether he can play Monday against Atlanta.

While there’s no indication that this will be a long-term injury, ESPN’s Bobby Marks points out that Davis is just shy of the 65-game minimum needed to qualify for postseason awards and All-NBA honors (Twitter link). He was at 64 games before tonight, including the finals of the in-season tournament, but he only played 12 minutes and the league requires at least 15 for the game to count toward the total.

Davis is averaging 24.7 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.4 blocks, so he’s a strong candidate for one of the All-NBA teams if he qualifies.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • D’Angelo Russell‘s $18.7MM player option for next season gives him a lot of leverage in deciding his future this summer, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown (video link). Russell has become a major part of the Lakers‘ offense during the second half of the season, averaging 22 PPG and shooting 44% from long distance over the past 27 games. Wojnarowski points out that if L.A. wants to make a significant trade at the draft, the organization may need Russell to pick up his option and agree to go wherever he’s dealt.
  • Isaiah Thomas, who’s joining the Suns on a 10-day contract, is expected to eventually receive a standard deal to fill the team’s final roster spot, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. Gambadoro doesn’t expect the 35-year-old guard to become part of the rotation, but he’ll serve as insurance heading into the postseason.
  • Eric Gordon was able to play 22 minutes on Friday night after missing the Suns‘ previous two games with a left knee contusion, notes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Rankin expects Gordon, Royce O’Neale, Bol Bol and Drew Eubanks to form the core of Phoenix’s second unit for the rest of the season.
  • Stephen Curry and Draymond Green both returned for Saturday’s game, giving the Warriors a fully healthy roster for the first time since November, observes Sam Gordon of The San Francisco Chronicle. Curry missed three games this week with a sprained right ankle, and Green sat out Wednesday’s contest due to lower back stiffness. “I still believe we’re very capable of rattling off a string of victories, and you just don’t know what’s going to happen above you,” coach Steve Kerr said.