Isaiah Thomas will be back out on a basketball court soon. The veteran guard, who hasn’t played in an NBA game since February 2020, has committed to play for Team USA in next month’s FIBA AmeriCup tournament, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The tournament is set to take place on Feb. 19-20 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and will serve as the qualifying tournament for this summer’s Olympic Games and the FIBA World Cup in 2023. Thomas took to Twitter to confirm the news on Wednesday.
Thomas finished fifth in MVP voting for the 2016-17 season, but he has struggled to find a consistent role in the NBA since a hip injury during the 2017 playoffs robbed him of much of his explosiveness. He split the 2017-18 season between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers after a couple of trades. He then signed with the Denver Nuggets for the 2018-19 campaign, but he appeared in only 12 games with the Nuggets. He saw steadier playing time in 40 games with the Washington Wizards last season — he averaged 12.2 points and 23.1 minutes per game with the Wizards — but thus far he has been unable to parlay that into another NBA job.
Thomas recently revealed he is discussing a return to the league with multiple teams and that he hired Bernie Lee of Quartexx Basketball to represent him in those discussions. Thomas is obviously hoping that positive play in the FIBA AmeriCup tournament will help him land another job in the NBA. Thomas had a hip resurfacing procedure done last year, and he’s feeling much better physically as a result.
“It’s like night and day for me,” Thomas said in October, via ESPN. “There’s no more pain. I’ve got my full range of motion. For three years, I was trying to play the best players in the world on one leg. I needed help from my kids to put my socks on in the morning. Now, I can lift weights. I can squat low. I can work out twice a day. I’m able to cut and move and stop, able to cut and go. I feel like I’m 31 years old again. And now, I have scientific evidence to show that.”
In addition to Thomas, former NBA All-Star Joe Johnson is also planning to play in the FIBA AmeriCup tournament, per Wojnarowski. Johnson last played in the NBA as a member of the Houston Rockets in 2018. The rest of the roster will take shape in the coming days.