According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Denver Nuggets and Isaiah Thomas have agreed to a one-year, veteran minimum contract.
Veteran's minimum deal for Thomas, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 13, 2018
Thomas spent last season in transition away from the Boston Celtics after three seasons in green and white. In 2016-17, he averaged 28.9 points per game on a 62.5 true shooting percentage. Thomas produced the best season of his career and worked his way into the MVP conversation thanks to his fourth quarter dominance.
Thomas saw a drastic drop off in his production in 2017-18 thanks to a devastating hip injury and a disastrous trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers. IT played in just 32 games and saw his points per game average plummet to 15.2. He would finish the season on the Lakers as a victim of Cleveland’s trade deadline garage sale.
Thomas will join Denver’s draft picks, Micahel Porter Jr. and Jarred Vanderbilt, as yet another high upside acquisition with major injury concerns. Thomas isn’t the same player as he was in 2016. A hip injury for a near 30-year old has drastic consequences, especially for a player listed at 5’9”. But much like Denver’s draft picks, the injury concerns are what allowed such a talented to player to fall into their laps. The Nuggets have added a veteran backup point guard at the minimum and there’s little risk involved in taking this flyer.
The move reunites Thomas with Michael Malone, who coached him in during his Sacramento years. It also fills Denver’s vacant backup ball handler role, which has interesting implications for both the second unit and Summer League hero, Monte Morris.
Prior to the agreement, the projected bench had little to no pop with Will Barton expected to slide into the starting lineup. It’s probable that Thomas will never again play at such a high level, but he should still be capable of filling it up off the bench. Morris is expected to compete for the backup job but with this news all signs now point to another season on a two-way deal.
(Update: The Nuggets have also traded Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur to the Brooklyn Nets, per Woj. The move will clear an additional roster spot once Isaiah Whitehead is waived)