The Charlotte Hornets sent away backup point guard Ish Smith in the trade that brought them Montrezl Harrell. To fill the veteran backup point guard role, they signed Isaiah Thomas to a 10-day contract. Then they signed him to a second 10-day contract. Then they signed him for the rest of the season.
Thomas quickly endeared himself to the team and the fans with his personality and his sparkplug play off the bench. He was thrust into early action quickly after joining the team due to LaMelo Ball’s extreme foul trouble in a road win over the Cavaliers. Thomas was a relatively consistent factor in the rotation from that point on.
It was a bit of a career resurgence for IT, who had been bouncing around the league on very temporary deals. He was largely considered to be washed up, and it looked like his chances of being a contributor in the league were rapidly dwindling. Thomas averaged 12.9 minutes per game across his 17 appearances and averaged 8.3 points per game on 39.7% shooting from deep. His 23.2 points per 36 minutes led the entire team. He spurred the Hornets on to a number of wins with stretches of hot shooting that ignited the Hornets offense on nights it was dragging, which is exactly what you want to see from a reserve guard.
Thomas also quickly assumed a leadership role with the team. He’s frequently spoken about his high hopes for LaMelo Ball and his desire to pass along the wisdom he’s gathered during his time in the league to the Hornets young guard. Plus he gives maybe the best postgame interviews on the team.
The Hornets have no commitment to Thomas going into the offseason. Thomas has said he wants to stay in Charlotte to help the rise of this team and its young star point guard. Given how thin his market has been the past few seasons, the Hornets should be able to retain him if both parties are interested.