Emoni Bates reacts to Isaiah Thomas finally earning new opportunity in NBA

3 Min Read
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Isaiah Thomas has finally made it back to the NBA, landing with the Phoenix Suns on a 10-day deal. The story has plenty of folks thrilled, including Cavs rookie Emoni Bates.

Isaiah Thomas and Emoni Bates

The two-time All-Star hasn’t played in an NBA game since the 2021-22 season, when he saw the court for three teams: the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Charlotte Hornets.

Since then, he has put in work and continued to campaign on social media for NBA organizations to give him a shot.

Thomas got one step closer to his goal by joining the Utah Jazz’s G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, earlier this month. In four appearances for the squad, he scored at least 30 points each time out, averaging 32.5 points per game to go along with 5.3 assists and 6.3 3-pointers per contest.

Evidently, that was enough for the Suns to offer him a 10-day contract.

It remains to be seen if Thomas will see any action for a star-studded team that features Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. However, Phoenix does have a hole at the point guard position and has been frequently hit by the injury bug in the 2023-24 campaign, so he certainly has a chance to get some playing time.

The 35-year-old does seem to be past his prime. He hasn’t also been the same since the 2016-17 season, when he went top five in the MVP voting and secured an All-NBA Second Team selection.

Injury woes took a toll on his body, which contributed to his disappointing stint with the Cavs in the 2017-18 campaign. Thomas suited up in just 15 matches for Cleveland, scoring 14.7 points per game, before the front office traded him to the Lakers at the trade deadline.

Still, it’s impressive that he has managed to land in the NBA again.

Perhaps Bates can learn a thing or two from watching the veteran. The 20-year-old swingman has yet to break through in the league, having played in just 11 games in a Cavs uniform so far. On the other hand, he has been solid for the franchise’s G League affiliate, the Cleveland Charge. In 17 regular season contests with the team, Bates has put up 19.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

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Orel is a freelance writer who is passionate about the NBA. He has followed the league since the late '90s and found increased interest in it in 2003 – when an 18-year-old prodigy from Akron, Ohio took the league by storm.