Rumblings of dysfunction in the Cleveland Cavaliers locker room are believed to have played a role in their willingness to trade Isaiah Thomas to the Los Angeles Lakers. Also included in the deal was veteran Channing Frye.
Since joining the Lakers over the weekend, bot have alluded to pieces on the Cavaliers roster simply not meshing well together. Frye and Thomas have remained vague and professional whenever discussing their former team.
But a mere one game and full practice into his tenure with the Lakers, Thomas didn’t shy away from highlighting a noted change in the environment.
“It seems like they love being around each other,” Thomas said Monday. “They’re always joking and it’s always a positive atmosphere. When you have fun with a group of guys, it makes it easier on the court.
“Since I got here, all they do is joke around and laugh. They’re so close, and that’s a good thing. That makes it easier on the floor when you go to battle. When you hit adversity, you don’t go your separate ways. You keep going. I think in this organization, everybody is here to play for each other and have a positive mindset.”
Beyond enjoying the atmosphere the Lakers have established, Thomas is also pleased with a change in style of play. Following a debut in which he scored 22 points and dished out six assists, he claimed to have his ‘powers’ back.
“I mean a rhythm. That was the first time I was able to have the ball in my hands and make a play,” he elaborated after practice. “You see the bench, every time I was shooting it, they were standing up and cheering. That’s the feeling I had in Boston, where we were playing for each other and had happiness and joy for each other. That’s big.”
It may very well stand that Thomas’ time with the Lakers does not extend beyond the regular season. He’s set to become a free agent, and the team isn’t exactly lacking for a point guard, even if Lonzo Ball has been sidelined by a sprained MCL for one month.
Nonetheless, the former MVP candidate is very much living in the moment and enjoying playing for his childhood team. “It hasn’t really hit me yet,” Thomas said of playing for the Lakers. “I’m a lifelong Laker fan. I mean, my family is from Inglewood, California.
“I was brainwashed into being a Laker fan as a young boy. And Kobe has been my favorite player. It hasn’t hit me yet that I am a Laker. But when I do look at gear, my locker, my jersey, it’s like, ‘Dang. I always dreamed of it. It’s finally here.’ I’m happy to be here. I just want to put on a show and try to take over this city like I tried to do each and every other city I’ve been in.”
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