"We can't wait to get him here", said [Rob] Pelinka, the Lakers' general manager. "Said his father was born and raised in Inglewood, so he's really excited".
Prior to this swap, the closest the Lakers had to a veteran point guard for Zo to learn from was Tyler Ennis, a 23-year-old backup who's recently been surpassed on head coach Luke Walton's depth chart by rookies Josh Hart and Alex Caruso. So especially with that type of experience and the fact that he can score the basketball and pass it, we want to get him in here fast. "He's going to get a lot of minutes". It's clear that he'll get a chance to play, and play up-tempo like he has played throughout his career. That was our biggest concern. Even with significant playing time, he might balk at a reserve role.
Thomas is running out of time to prove himself before free agency.
At a press conference addressing L.A.'s big move at the trade deadline-which sent Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Thomas, Channing Frye and a first-round pick-Johnson characterized Isaiah as "a veteran who can help Lonzo" learn the ins and outs of his competition and life within the National Basketball Association.
In the end, Thomas will probably do what the Lakers ask. The Lakers can increase their cap space to around $70 million if they do not bring back Randle, who will be a restricted free agent, and find a solution, likely the stretch provision, to the $37 million that is owed to Deng, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks. What choice does he have? Even if he volunteered to relinquish all that, is it enough for the Lakers to accept a buyout? If LA wants to acquire a star player and feels it's necessary to sweeten the deal by making sure their trade partner has Thomas under contract, then it's absolutely an option to consider. I empathize with him. I love the way Julius [Randle] is playing right now; this is the best I have seen him play.