It's been a shocking fall from grace for Thomas, who just two seasons ago was an All-Star and leading the Boston Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals. It's barely been over a calendar year since he said that whoever wanted to sign him would have to "bring out the Brinks truck."
Now, Thomas has been forced to settle for the vet minimum in order to restore his image around the league. Last offseason, of course, he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the vaunted 2018 Nets first-round pick in exchange for Kyrie Irving. But he was injured, having suffered a hip injury during the 2016-17 season, one that eventually knocked him out of the 2017 Eastern Conference finals.
After electing not to have surgery, he made his debut for the Cavaliers on Jan. 2, following months of rehab. But his stint with the Cavs lasted just 15 games. He was reportedly an instigator in the infamous team meeting the Cavs had last season, and ended up being one of the players shipped out in their trade deadline revamping of the locker room.
Traded to the Lakers, he had his moments with the team, but only played 17 games before deciding to shut it down in order to undergo hip surgery. The injuries, the potential locker room misdeeds and a suppressed free-agent market all resulted in a perfect storm in which Thomas was left with few options other than taking a minimum deal from a potential playoff team.
While it's unfortunate Thomas wasn't able to get the payday he deserved, the Nuggets will provide him an opportunity to prove once again that he belongs in this league. It remains to be seen if he can get back to an All-Star level, but even if he can't, this is a good gamble by the Nuggets. Thomas will provide even more firepower for an already explosive offense. Plus, their defense is already so bad even he can't make them worse on that end.
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