Isaiah Thomas only spent 2.5 seasons with the Boston Celtics, but you'd think he was with the franchise for longer based on how fans still fondly talk about him to this day. His brief run was filled with highs and electric moments, proving that you can never be too small for basketball's biggest stage.
The 34-year-old free-agent guard hasn't found stability since leaving Boston, but that hasn't stopped him from continuing his dream. Thomas recently told Forbes' Mat Issa that he's "still working out and staying ready" regarding a potential NBA return.
If Thomas can prove that he still has enough left in the tank to compete in the NBA before he hangs up his shoes, the Celtics should explore a potential reunion.
Celtics Rumors: Isaiah Thomas NBA Comeback
As of Dec. 13, the Celtics sit atop the Eastern Conference standings with a 17-5 record. So, why should they be interested in signing Thomas, who hasn't played an NBA game since 2022?
Because the bench needs some serious help.
The Celtics' bench averages an NBA-worst 25.4 points per game. While that hasn't hurt the team too much to begin the season, having a strong bench is crucial come playoff time, especially if Boston wants to win its first title in more than 15 years. That's where Thomas comes in.
Celtics fans are familiar with the veteran guard's reputation as a sparkplug, having averaged 22.2 and 28.9 points in back-to-back seasons with the C's. He also recorded 18 of his 20 highest-scoring games in a Boston uniform, including his career-high 52-point effort against the Miami Heat on Dec. 30, 2016. That was also the same season he finished fifth in NBA MVP voting.
While he's shown flashes of brilliance now and then since leaving Boston as part of the Kyrie Irving trade, Thomas' biggest issue was finding a stable home. He's played for seven different teams since the start of the 2017-18 campaign without playing more than 40 games with each franchise.
But even though Thomas is no longer one of the best players in the game, he's still looked decent in his last taste of NBA action. After unremarkable stints with the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks, the ex-Washington Product spent 17 games with the Charlotte Hornets, averaging 8.3 points and 1.4 threes (on 39.7%) shooting while coming off the bench.
If he can still be that player (or at least come close to it), it'll be good enough to help better Boston's bench. Sparkplugs are needed when the stars aren't on the court and a reunion in Beantown could be what Thomas needs to bring out his best again.
The Celtics do have one roster spot remaining and I doubt Thomas would command anything more than a veteran minimum deal at this stage of his career. He's also signed five 10-day contracts since 2021, meaning he might be open to another one if Brad Stevens needs a sample size before committing for the rest of the campaign.
Regardless, it'd be fitting for Thomas to end his career after one more season with the Celtics. After all, Boston is where to legend of the "King of the Fourth" was created.
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