Basketball

How Isaiah Thomas is reuniting with one of his former Kings coaches 1,200 miles away

Kings coach Michael Malone talks with guard Isaiah Thomas during a game against the Utah Jazz at Sleep Train Arena on Dec. 11, 2013, in Sacramento. The two will be reunited with the Denver Nuggets, according to an ESPN report.
Kings coach Michael Malone talks with guard Isaiah Thomas during a game against the Utah Jazz at Sleep Train Arena on Dec. 11, 2013, in Sacramento. The two will be reunited with the Denver Nuggets, according to an ESPN report. Sacramento Bee file

There’s a reunion of sorts happening nearly 1,200 miles east of Sacramento.

Isaiah Thomas has agreed to join the Denver Nuggets on a one-year contract, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The deal is reportedly worth $2 million.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Free agent guard Isaiah Thomas has agreed to a one-year deal with the Denver Nuggets, league sources tell ESPN. Thomas will reunite with Michael Malone, who coached him with the Kings.</p>&mdash; Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) <a href="https://twitter.com/wojespn/status/1017615703602487296?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 13, 2018</a></blockquote><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Thomas has familiarity with Nuggets coach Michael Malone. The last man picked in the 2011 NBA draft played for Malone in Sacramento during the 2013-14 season and averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists as the Kings went 28-54.

After two All-Star seasons with the Boston Celtics, Thomas is now on his third team in less than a year. He was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a swap of star guards in August. After missing most of the first half of the 2017-18 season, he was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers at the NBA’s trading deadline in February.

Thomas played just 32 games last season, 17 for L.A. and 15 for Cleveland, as he was slowed by a hip injury. He averaged 15.2 points and 4.8 assists, a far cry from his All-Star seasons with the Celtics.

In 2016-17 with Boston, his 28.9 points-per-game average trailed just Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (31.6) and Houston’s James Harden (29.1). In the playoffs, he had his career-best scoring game just a few weeks after his sister was killed in a car accident. Thomas dropped 53 points on the Washington Wizards in a 129-119 Game 2 victory on May 2, the day Chyna Thomas would have turned 23.

Now Thomas joins a Nuggets roster that had three guards average at least 15 points last season.

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