The list of Los Angeles Lakers players who have entered the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols is growing longer by day. After previously losing guard Talen Horton-Tucker and center Dwight Howard to health and safety protocols, the Lakers now also saw the same thing happen to starters Russell Westbrook and Avery Bradley.
This led the franchise to ask for a hardship exemption from the league, which would allow them to sign a player on a 10-day contract. The exemption is likely to be approved, and the Lakers already have an agreement with veteran point guard Isaiah Thomas according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Westbrook and Bradley became subjects of health and safety protocols on Wednesday, with the team confirming the news on Thursday. Neither player traveled with the team for the upcoming road game against Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers also have to play the Chicago Bulls before ending their three-game road trip that kicked off on Wednesday with an overtime win against the Dallas Mavericks.
Signing with the Lakers will mark Thomas’ return to the franchise he played for during the 2017–18 season. He averaged 15.6 points, 5.0 assists, and 2.1 rebounds throughout 17 games during his first stint.
Thomas hasn’t played in the NBA at all this season after only making three appearances for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2020-21. He signed with NBA G League’s Grand Rapids Gold earlier in December and had 42 points, eight assists, and six rebounds in his debut.