Isaiah Thomas understands why teams may be wary of signing him, but he believes he's ready to return to All-Star form in 2021.
The former Boston Celtics star has dealt with a bothersome right hip since being traded by the C's in 2017. He recently underwent another procedure on his hip, and now he claims he's 100 percent healthy.
Thomas talked with Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe about participating in pickup games last month with several NBA stars, including former Washington Wizards teammate John Wall and Brooklyn Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The sessions went well for the 31-year-old.
“Those guys were like, ‘Damn, welcome back. You really look like yourself,’” Thomas told Himmelsbach. “That only gave me more confidence to be able to play the game again. I mean, I was blowing by people. I haven’t blown by anybody since I had a Celtics uniform on. When I was able to blow by MVP-caliber players, that told me my burst and power and speed are there. I really feel like I’m back."
Thomas also opened up about the difficulty of playing through the hip injury last season, and how his latest procedure will help him regain an important part of his game.
“I was really playing on one leg against the best players in the world,” he said. “That’s difficult for anybody. I just had to adjust my game to where I was able to make an impact in any way possible. I relied on my jump-shot more than I usually do, and my strength has always been getting in the paint and finishing around the rim. Now I’m able to move, get to the hoop, and put pressure on the defense.”
Thomas actually was fairly productive during his 40 games in Washington, averaging 12.2 points and 3.7 assists. Still unsigned, he's hoping for a chance to prove he's back to 2016-17 form.
Whether he'll get that opportunity in Boston or elsewhere remains to be seen.