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Isaiah Thomas agrees to one-year deal with Denver Nuggets

The Celtics traded Isaiah Thomas last summer to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who later traded him to the Lakers.
The Celtics traded Isaiah Thomas last summer to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who later traded him to the Lakers.(FILE/WILFREDO LEE/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Free-agent guard Isaiah Thomas agreed to a one-year, $2 million deal with the Denver Nuggets, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported, citing league sources.

Thomas met with Tim Connelly, Denver’s president of basketball operations, and coach Michael Malone in Las Vegas in recent days, continuing to talk and text with them about a role and circumstances surrounding him joining the Nuggets, league sources said.

This is a high-reward, low-risk gamble for the Nuggets, who aspire to reach the Western Conference playoffs this season. For Thomas, it is a chance to re-establish himself on a winning team, stay healthy and re-enter free agency next summer.

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Malone is planning for Thomas, rehabbing from hip surgery, to play a significant scoring and playmaking role off Denver’s bench. Malone coached Thomas with the Sacramento Kings in 2013-14 and has been enthusiastic about incorporating him into the Nuggets.

Thomas, 29, has been steadily progressing in rehabilitation since an early-April arthroscopic clean-up procedure on the right hip. Thomas averaged 29 points for the Boston Celtics in 2016-17, a second-team All-NBA season that appeared to be clearing the way for a long-term, $100 million contract. But an injury on the same right hip that cut short his playoffs in 2017 and cost him eight months of rehab, and a trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer, upended his hopes for that kind of a long-term deal.

Thomas joined the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a trade-deadline deal with Cleveland, where he had played only 15 games in the 2017-18 season. Thomas has spent time rehabbing between Seattle and Los Angeles this summer.