Isaiah Thomas Says Cavs ‘Were in Panic Mode’ When They Traded Him

Los Angeles Lakers’ point guard Isaiah Thomas has a simple explanation for the blockbuster February trade that resulted in him getting swapped for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.

“It’s a business,” Thomas told ESPN during an interview for the network’s E:60 program. “And the Cavs were, I mean, they were in panic mode. We were losing—a lot. And I think they felt like they needed to make a move, and they, they basically cleared house.”

Thomas and Channing Frye were shipped to the Lakers, while the Cavs acquired Rodney Hood and George Hill in a separate three-way deal with the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings. The flurry of trades that saw the Cavs trade six players and a draft pick to bring in four new additions came shortly after the team posted a 6-12 record from Christmas through February 3.

A large portion of the blame fell on Thomas, who only logged 15 games with the Cavs after spending a significant portion of the season rehabbing from a hip injury. As the losses piled up, he reportedly called out Kevin Love, questioned his teammates’ effort, and implied the coaching staff failed to make adjustments. He also found himself on the wrong end of a hilarious meme.

“People don’t put in there that we had eight or nine new players,” Thomas added. “So it was basically a brand new team…I’m in a new system—new team, new coach, new players. And then I’ve been off for seven months. So I got to get—individually, I got to for the most part get my rhythm back, get my timing back.”

Much like Thomas, Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman has since conceded that the 2017 trade that initially brought Thomas to Cleveland while shipping Kyrie Irving to Boston was a bust.

“Did it fit? Did it work? Probably not,” Altman told Joe Vardon of shortly after trading Thomas and Frye to Los Angeles. “So with those pieces, we decided to shuffle the deck and get younger and get some youthful talent with energy and enthusiasm.”

Thomas finished fifth in MVP voting after the 2016-2017 season, and many around the league believe he’ll use his time with the rebuilding Lakers as an audition for a larger contract.

“Hopefully I’m here long term, you know, with me being a free agent this summer,” Thomas said. “But if I’m not, these last 25 games I’m going to play my heart out and show the Lakers why I should be here long term.”

Thomas’ full E:60 interview is scheduled to air March 11.

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LeBron James Wore Goggles for Nine Minutes Before Throwing Them Away

Late in Friday night's win against the Charlotte Hornets, LeBron James suffered a corneal abrasion in his right eye that threatened his availability over the weekend. The Cavs have more important things than regular season wins on their minds, so it wouldn't have been crazy for LeBron to take the night off (even after taking heat for resting in recent weeks).

Instead of heading to the bench for another evening, James decided to unveil a new look. Enter Goggles LeBron. Richard Jefferson hinted at the possibility Saturday afternoon, when James entered Cleveland's locker room with a pair of wraparound shades you'd typically see on a baseball diamond:

Speculation began to build about whether he'd don a pair of goggles during Saturday night's game against the Wizards. James was initially resistant to the idea, at least according to several Cavs reporters:

It's a good thing he wasn't under oath when he said that, because LeBron took the floor with a pair of tinted goggles on, looking every bit like a throwback to the glory days of Rec Specs. People were excited about the development, and he even punctuated their debut with a bang:

Long may Goggles LeBron reign! Unfortunately for fans of the look, a slow start for the Cavs prompted the reigning Finals MVP to throw caution to the wind and discard his new eyewear, going goggle-less with 3:37 left to play in the first quarter: 

It's a shame the experiment had to end so soon. LeBron's career is so scrutinized that even his in-game fashion choices become part of his legacy; his performance with no headband on in the 2013 NBA Finals is the stuff of legend, and he eventually shed his signature headwear in an effort to build solidarity with his teammates. Given time, the goggles might have been his new secret weapon.

On second thought, you probably know a lot more about this basketball thing than we do. Do you, LeBron. 

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