Since being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers from the Cleveland Cavaliers last month, Isaiah Thomas has tried to take a professional approach to his new role with his new team.
The point guard was told that he would be coming off the bench and playing as a backup to Lonzo Ball and he was happy to accept that for the benefit of the team.
Since arriving, the veteran has got his head down and looked to play his role to the best of his ability to help the team win.
To his credit, he has done a decent job of it so far as he's averaging 16.5 points and 5.4 assists per game with the Lakers' second unit.
Thomas will be a free agent in the summer and is trying to prove that he can still play at a high level after coming back from a hip injury that kept him out for seven months.
The 29-year-old may be willing to fulfil a backup role with the Lakers for the time being but he's made it clear that he isn't prepared to do it moving forward whether he re-signs with the Purple and Gold or joins another team in free agency.
His message to any potential suitors is simple; I'm signing on to be a starter and not a reserve.
"I'm not no sixth man," Thomas told USA Today Sports' Sam Amick. "And I won't be a sixth man (in the future). I just want everybody to know that, like clear as can be. I'm a two-time All-Star and a starter who has done things that a lot of people in this league haven't done, given that opportunity.
"But I got traded into a situation I can't control. There's nothing bad against (Lakers coach) Luke Walton. There's nothing bad against the Los Angeles Lakers. I'm taking advantage of the opportunity they've given me, and then (we’ll) end the season off strong. And that's all I can do.
"I'm not coming in here saying: 'Oh, I want this, or this is going to happen.' No, that's not me. I'm just going to come in here and be a professional, and when my name is called I'm going to be more than ready for any opportunity I'm given."
With the Lakers dealing with multiple injuries, IT was given his first start against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night where he put up 20 points and seven assists in a 117-106 loss.
"I'm here to help," Thomas said.. "I'm here to continue to get better, and I'm still – (expletive), I can reach levels that I know I haven't reached yet, and I'm here to help along the way in whatever they need me to do, and I'm going to be a professional. At the end of the day, that's all I can do and let everything else take care of itself."
His career has gone sideways since he became a two-time All-Star with the Boston Celtics and enjoyed a career year last season.
It'll be interesting to see what kind of market there will be for Thomas in the summer but he's unlikely to receive the kind of offers he's expecting.
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