Speaking to ESPN's E:60 for an upcoming episode that will air March 11, Thomas said he thought the team was in "panic mode" when it shipped him to the Los Angeles Lakers along with Channing Frye and a 2018 first-round pick in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
"I didn't think they would pull the trigger that fast, 15 games," Thomas said, per ESPN.com. "But again, it's a business. And the Cavs were, I mean, they were in panic mode. We were losing—a lot. And I think they felt like they needed to make a move, and they, they basically cleared house."
Thomas, who missed the first 36 games of the season with a hip injury, also admitted it was difficult to join the team midway through the regular season.
"It was a tough situation I was being put in," he said. "It was—it was different. ... It's hard to get acclimated to a team halfway through the season.
"... I'm in a new system. New team, new coach, new players. And then I've been off for seven months. So I got to get—individually, I got to for the most part get my rhythm back, get my timing back."
Thomas averaged 14.7 points and 4.5 assists while shooting 36.1 percent from the field and 25.3 percent from three in 15 games with the Cavaliers. During that time, Cleveland was outscored by a team-worst 15.1 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor, according to NBA.com's lineup data.
Since shipping Thomas to the Lakers, the Cavaliers have gone 4-1 and appeared rejuvenated thanks to an injection of young blood throughout their starting lineup and second unit.