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Isaiah Thomas says he’ll play any role Lakers ask of him, including coming off bench

By in Press Enterprise on February 10, 2018

By Elliott Teaford

DALLAS — Dinner was the first thing on Luke Walton’s agenda Friday night. So, the Lakers’ coach invited Isaiah Thomas to break bread with him in order to get to know the All-Star point guard better. Walton talked and Thomas listened and Thomas talked and Walton listened.

What was said?

“Well, that’s between us,” Walton said Saturday after the Lakers’ shootaround.

It wasn’t difficult to guess, though.

Yes, Thomas would prefer to be a starter, as he’s been for most of his NBA career.

Yes, Thomas wants to help the Lakers in any way possible, including mentoring Lonzo Ball.

Yes, the hip issue that limited Thomas to only 15 games this season before the Cleveland Cavaliers dealt him, Channing Frye and a first-round draft pick to the Lakers at the NBA trade deadline Thursday has healed and his game is starting to get back to what it was before the injury.

No, Thomas didn’t want to talk about why things went haywire in Cleveland.

“I’m just ready to play and have fun again,” Thomas told reporters.

For the moment, it means playing a reserve role. Walton has used 19 different starting lineups in 55 games this season, including Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks. It probably won’t be long before No. 20 includes Thomas, but Walton made no guarantees.

“He wants to start, of course he does,” Walton said. “Everybody wants to start. But he was great when we were at dinner (Friday) night. I expect him to really help our team out and I expect him to be a positive influence on our team and help us win ballgames.”

Walton didn’t wish to mess with success, so against the Mavericks he opted to stick with a starting lineup that had helped the Lakers win four consecutive games: Josh Hart and Julius Randle at the forward positions, Brook Lopez at center and […]    

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