Apr 3, 2021
Isaiah Thomas will wear No. 24 for the New Orleans Pelicans in a nod to Kobe Bryant.
The Pelicans signed the point guard to a 10-day contract Saturday. Thomas responded to the team’s tweet detailing his jersey selection by saying, “Kobe!!!!”
He started his career wearing No. 22 with the Sacramento Kings and has also worn Nos. 0, 3, 4 and 7 in his career.
Thomas had been on track to be available for Sunday’s game at Houston, but New Orleans announced that he would not play due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols and that he was expected to join the team Monday.
The Pelicans could likely use Thomas as soon as possible.
They have four players on the injury report, with Zion Williamson (right thumb strain), Brandon Ingram (right first MTP irritation) listed as out vs. Houston. Lonzo Ball, who has missed the last seven games with a right hip flexor strain, started on Sunday. Williamson and Ingram have missed three straight games.
Pelicans guard Josh Hart (torn UCL in right thumb) is expected to miss significant time, and backup point guard Kira Lewis, a rookie who had a career-high 21 points Friday against the Atlanta Hawks, is out with a strained right calf.
Thomas has not played an NBA game since Feb. 3, 2020, with the Washington Wizards. He did play two games with Team USA this February, leading the team in scoring in FIBA qualifying wins over the Bahamas and Mexico while shooting 50% from deep (6-of-12).
During the 2019-20 season, Thomas averaged 12.2 points and 3.7 assists in 40 games with the Wizards.
Thomas, 32, is a two-time All-Star who was a second-team All-NBA selection in 2017 after averaging 28.9 points per game for the Boston Celtics while helping lead them to the top seed in the Eastern Conference. But a hip injury Thomas suffered that season has slowed him down ever since.