Isaiah Thomas Makes Long-awaited NBA Return, Signs with Pelicans

The former UW point guard completes his comeback attempt from a nagging hip injury.

He's back.

On Saturday, Isaiah Thomas was only too happy to acknowledge that he's been signed to a 10-day contract by the New Orleans Pelicans, signaling his return to the NBA following a 14-month absence.

Held back by a lingering hip injury, the former University of Washington point guard last played in the league on Feb. 3, 2020, for the Washington Wizards. Traded three days later to the Los Angeles Clippers, he was waived and has been in basketball limbo ever since. 

"Despite obstacle after obstacle, I've overcome everything that's been thrown at me," Thomas said. 

The 21-27 Pelicans led by big man Zion Williamson will mark Thomas' eighth NBA team in 10 seasons. He's also played for the Sacramento Kings, the Phoenix Suns, the Boston Celtics, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Denver Nuggets and the Wizards. 

Since his league disconnect, he's had a hip resurfacing procedure and recently played in U.S. national team competition in the Caribbean as sort of trial run for everyone to see that he's OK. 

The 5-foot-9 Thomas just four seasons ago was one of the NBA's marquee players, averaging 28.9 points and 5.9 assists per game for the 2016-17 Celtics and earning a second consecutive All-Star game selection. 

Now 32, he's appeared in 525 NBA games overall and will attempt to show durability in hopes of extending his pro basketball career. 

After an All-Pac-10 junior season for the Huskies, Thomas entered the NBA draft a decade ago and was the 60th and final player selected.

In fact, the UW recently recognized the 10-year anniversary of Thomas beating Arizona with a last-second shot in the Pac-10 tournament championship game.

So now he has more to celebrate. 

An NBA roster spot.

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