Isaiah Thomas has been closely linked to a move to the Indiana Pacers this summer, as Hoops Habit predicts that the Los Angeles Lakers floor general may form a one-two backcourt punch with Victor Oladipo next season. The diminutive point guard is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July as he reaches the end of his four-year, $27 million deal signed with Boston in the summer of 2014.
Thomas, who turned 29 last month, played only 15 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers before getting traded to the Lakers at the deadline. It has been a huge drop of perceived value for Thomas, from being a top-five MVP candidate in Boston last year to becoming an unwanted man in Cleveland early this season.
The former Washington standout has been thriving as a substitute in Luke Walton’s rotation, averaging 16.5 points and 5.4 dimes per game since he was traded, but Thomas is reportedly unsatisfied about his current bench role in L.A.
In an interview with USA Today’s Sam Amick, Thomas insisted that he is not a “sixth man” and that having that role in the future is not included in his plans.
“I’m not no sixth man. And I won’t be a sixth man (in the future). I just want everybody to know that, like clear as can be. I’m a two-time All-Star and a starter who has done things that a lot of people in this league haven’t done (when) given that opportunity.”
It is evident, however, that the Lakers are not planning on making him their full-pledged starter anytime soon with Lonzo Ball clearly being polished as the future face of the franchise. This dynamic has led a lot of analysts to believe that Thomas’ time in Los Angeles would be short-lived.
Meanwhile, the Pacers are also thriving this season with Oladipo playing as the team’s main man. The former Indiana Hoosiers star spearheads his team with 23.4 points and an NBA-leading 2.3 steals a night, helping Indiana to hold the fifth seed in the East with only 12 games left in their regular season campaign.
Indiana actually has the same 40-30 record with the Washington Wizards right now while the third-place Cavaliers are only a half-game ahead. The Pacers are on a two-game losing slide as they face the Lakers at home on Monday night.
Oladipo has been one of the league’s most improved players this season, and all indications point to the fact that he will become the Pacers’ undisputed team leader in the coming seasons. Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes said that if Thomas “is willing to accept second-fiddle status” behind Oladipo, then a move to Indiana is highly possible this coming offseason.