Marcus Smart Says He Pushed for Celtics to Sign Isaiah Thomas in Free Agency

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 18, 2021

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 18: Isaiah Thomas #4 of the Boston Celtics talks with Marcus Smart #36 during their game against the New York Knicks at TD Garden on January 18, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart said Friday that he pushed for the Celtics to sign veteran guard Isaiah Thomas in free agency before Thomas joined the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers signed Thomas to a 10-day contract this week, and he made an instant impact, pouring in 19 points in 22 minutes against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

According to MassLive.com's Souichi Terada, Smart suggested that he lobbied for the Celtics to sign Thomas during the offseason before Boston ultimately signed former Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder instead.

Regarding IT slipping away, Smart said: "There's only so much I can do. In the end, it's a business on that part. I'm just proud of him. The adversity that he's been going through just continued to triumph and continued to fight through it. That's my dawg, so big shout out to IT. It's all love."

Smart also said that while he wished "it would have been us," he was "glad" a team gave Thomas a chance.

Thomas and Smart spent parts of three seasons together as teammates in Boston, and those were some of the best seasons of Thomas' career.

In 2015-16, Thomas was named an All-Star for the first time when he averaged 22.2 points, 6.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. He took the next step the following season by averaging 28.9 points, 5.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds per contest en route to an All-Star nod and an All-NBA Second Team selection.

Thomas helped lead Boston to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2016-17, but a hip injury knocked him out during the playoffs, and he was subsequently traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers during the offseason in the deal that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston.

The 32-year-old Thomas hasn't been the same player since then, as he has battled injuries and jumped around from team to team.

Since the trade from Boston, Thomas has played for five different franchises, and he is now in the midst of his second stint with the Lakers.

Thomas appeared in just three games for the New Orleans Pelicans last season, but on Friday he looked refreshed and ready to contribute at a high level.

The Lakers could use some vintage performances from Thomas moving forward, as they are off to a somewhat disappointing 16-14 start.

Boston likely would have benefited from his services as well, given that the Celtics are only 14-15 so far this season.