Isaiah Thomas eyes NBA return: Veteran guard to sign Nuggets affiliate for G League Showcase
Isaiah Thomas is aiming for another return to the NBA.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the former two-time All-Star is expected to sign with Nuggets affiliate Grand Rapids Gold to compete in the upcoming G League Showcase.
Isaiah Thomas has signed with Denver Nuggets NBA G League affiliate Grand Rapids Gold, sources say @TheAthletic @Stadium. Jason Terry, who is close to Thomas, is the head coach of Grand Rapids and will coach IT in the G League showcase starting Sunday. https://t.co/CtQ0FIRq2Z
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 13, 2021
As Charania mentioned, the G League Showcase will be held December 19-22 in Las Vegas, giving players the opportunity to prove themselves in front of scouts for a chance to crack an NBA roster.
Thomas, 32, has been looking for an NBA comeback for a few years now, but has yet to find a permanent landing spot. For more on what the G League Showcase is and Thomas’ return timeline, we’ve got you covered below.
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Timeline of Isaiah Thomas’ return
It’s been quite a journey for Thomas, who was selected with the very last pick (No. 60) in the 2011 NBA Draft.
The peak of his career came during a two-year stint with the Boston Celtics, where Thomas earned back-to-back All-Star nominations in 2015-16 and 2016-17. Averaging 28.9 points and 5.9 assists per game while leading the Celtics to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, Thomas was named All-NBA Second Team and finished fifth in MVP voting. for the season.
After that season, a hip injury derailed his career trajectory, bouncing from team to team after being traded from Boston to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving during the 2017 offseason.
Since then, Thomas has played for five different teams as he tries to heal his hip and regain his full strength, but the veteran guard hasn’t found a new place to call home.
In 2019-20, he played 40 games for the Washington Wizards, starting in 37 of those contests averaging 12.2 points and 3.7 assists per game. Last season, in 2020-21, Thomas signed a 10-day contract with the New Orleans Pelicans, averaging 7.7 points in three appearances.
Most recently, on his comeback trail, Thomas competed with Team USA in the FIBA World Cup 2023 Qualifiers in November and had a handful of positives, including a 3-pointer against Cuba.
Thomas had two hard-hitting games for Team USA, scoring 21 points in each game.
“The ultimate goal is to come back to the NBA,” Thomas said while playing for the United States national team in 2023 World Cup qualifying.
Just a month later, Thomas will showcase his skills in the G League Showcase. As mentioned above, The Athletic’s Charania reported that Thomas was set to sign with Nuggets affiliate Grand Rapids Gold for the showcase. With the Nuggets down several players due to injury, Thomas might be able to crack the roster at the end of the showcase.
What is the NBA G League Showcase?
The 2021 G League Showcase features a knockout tournament where eight teams will compete for the Showcase Cup Championship.
The fight to make eight-team Showcase Cup champ began Nov. 5, as the 29 G League and NBA G League Ignite teams were separated into four regional groups, playing 12 games against each other on the NBA G League local markets.
The teams with the best winning percentages in each regional group, as well as the next four teams in the league with the best winning percentages, will play for the Showcase Cup championship during the Winter Showcase. The remaining teams will each play two games outside of the Showcase Cup tournament during the event.
The pitch is yet to be set for the G League showcase, with the “regional module” schedule set to end on December 17.
The G League Showcase will begin on Sunday, December 19 and end on Wednesday, December 22.
Team scouts and executives will be present to assess the players.