When the Cleveland Cavaliers traded Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics, they received one of 2017’s top players back in return. However, while Isaiah Thomas was an MVP contender last season, he injured his back in the playoffs and wasn’t ready to return to the NBA court until after Christmas. The Cavaliers struggled through the first half of the NBA season, and while they had the third best record in the Eastern Conference, they knew they had to make changes to contend. One of those changes involved trading Thomas to the Los Angeles Lakers, a move that the point guard told ESPN was a case of the Cavaliers operating in “panic mode.”
Isaiah Thomas Refuses Blame For Cleveland Cavaliers Woes
The Cleveland Cavaliers won 19 of 21 games before they lost on Christmas Day to the Golden State Warriors. Isaiah Thomas made his season debut after the Cavaliers dropped three in a row and Cleveland ended up losing eight of the 15 games they played with Thomas in the lineup.
As Isaiah Thomas said previously in an ESPN interview, it wasn’t his fault the Cleveland Cavaliers were losing, pointing out that the Cavs ranked near the bottom of the NBA in defense the entire season, and the fact that so many people blamed him for the struggles wasn’t fair.
In this new interview, Thomas said that he didn’t think the Cleveland Cavaliers would pull the trigger and trade him so fast. He only played 15 games with the Cavs before they gave up on him and traded both he and Jae Crowder, who also arrived in the Boston Celtics trade, for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
The Reasons For The Cleveland Cavaliers Trade
While Isaiah Thomas feels the Cleveland Cavaliers went into panic mode when they chose to trade him, there was a good reason that they made the move. Thomas is a free agent when the season ends, and the Cavaliers received Clarkson and Nance, two players they won’t lose after the season, in return.
Clarkson and Nance, as well as George Hill, are all younger stars than the players they traded away, which includes Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose. LeBron James said the team looks very exciting now and as SBNation pointed out, LeBron looks happy for the first time this season.
Isaiah Thomas said that he has no “ill will” towards the Cleveland Cavaliers, but it just didn’t work out for him. Thomas also compared coming to the Los Angeles Lakers as a similar situation to when he was traded to the Boston Celtics, joining a young team on the cusp of the playoffs.
In the five games since joining the Lakers, Thomas has averaged just over 13 points a game, which is lower than his ppg with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He also has to share the point guard role with rookie Lonzo Ball. This is a huge step down from his 28.9 points-per-game last year with the Boston Celtics.
On the other hand, Jordan Clarkson is averaging 13.5 points from the bench, and Larry Nance Jr. is averaging 9.8 points, six rebounds and a block a game for the Cavs. The man who replaced Thomas, George Hill, is averaging 10.8 points a game, while the Cleveland Cavaliers are 4-1 since trading Isaiah Thomas to the Los Angeles Lakers.