A one-year, $2-million contract probably wasn't what Isaiah Thomas envisioned for himself when he was talking about being a max-contract guy, and teams having to "bring the Brinks truck out" at this time last year.
A torn labrum, an uninspired stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and then arthroscopic surgery on his ailing hip - which prematurely ended his time with the Los Angeles Lakers - hurt Thomas' stock significantly.
Now that Thomas is a member of the Denver Nuggets, the two-time All-Star wants a chance to prove he can still be an elite-level point guard, which could earn him a more substantial payday next summer.
"The thing that I wanted was the opportunity to play, the opportunity to show who I am again, show the world what I bring to the table," Thomas told Nuggets.com's Chris Dempsey. "And, at the same time, just being able to have that opportunity. I didn’t care about the money. I didn’t care about none of that. I cared about being able to showcase my skills and be in a good environment.
"I don’t know too many players on this team, but from the outside, looking in it seems like they love playing with each other and they love being around each other and they had a good atmosphere and I wanted to be a part of that."
His move to the Mile High City reunites him with Michael Malone, who was the head coach when Thomas began his career with the Sacramento Kings.
He'll have plenty of opportunities to showcase his offensive prowess as a key member of the Nuggets' second unit. And given his past experience working with Malone, he knows what the coach will ask of him.
"I think it fits my style perfectly," Thomas said of Malone's offense. "It’s a fast-paced offense, spread the floor; you’ve got one of the best big men in the NBA that can pass and make plays for others. And it’s all about space and opportunity."
"It was just a perfect fit from all angles and I’m just excited to be here and excited to help. That’s what I’m here to do."
Thomas also mentioned how important it is for him to show the basketball world he can stay healthy and return to form, and that his resume speaks for itself. In 2016-17 with the Boston Celtics Thomas finished fifth in MVP voting after averaging a career-best 28.9 points on 46.3 percent shooting from the field.