Some NBA teams around the league are looking to finalize their rosters ahead of training camp and before the new season approaches. A trio of former NBA veterans is working out with teams to have another opportunity of playing in the NBA. Isaiah Thomas, Lance Stephenson, and Monta Ellis believe they have the experience to help a team finalize their roster.
NBA Veterans Are Making Their Last Impression
Isaiah Thomas is still fighting his way in an effort to secure an important backup role in the NBA as he played for the New Orleans Pelicans last season. At the Crawsover Pro-Am game in Seattle, he gained a lot of interest from teams as he looked to be in great shape. Thomas’ dreams of securing a role on an NBA squad seemed like it was coming to fruition as he worked out with LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.
However, the Los Angeles Lakers opted to sign Rajon Rondo as he was bought out by the Memphis Grizzlies. Still, the former two-time All-Star shouldn’t give up hope as he worked out recently for the Dallas Mavericks. Thomas has been dealing with injuries but stated that he is ready for what’s next.
Back in April Thomas stated,
“I’m 102 percent. I’m more than good,…This is the best I ever felt since before I got injured. It’s not even a question no more. Every day I wake up with a smile on my face because honestly I never thought I would feel this good again and feel back to normal. Physically I’m ready. Mentally I’m ready. And I’m just happy to really be here.”
Lance Stephenson was another player who worked with the Dallas Mavericks. Before heading over to China to play for Liaoning Flying Leopards, Stephenson played for the Lakers in 2019. Stephenson had a strong season in China as he showcased why he belongs in the NBA. He averaged 26.7 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 3.8 RPG, and 1.1 SPG in the CBA.
Lastly, the most interesting candidate is Monta Ellis who also worked out for the Mavericks along with the Houston Rockets. The 35-year-old guard who wants to make a comeback last played for the Indiana Pacers in the 2016-17 season. For a player who was drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the 40th pick back in 2005 straight out of high school, he has definitely overachieved.
In his twelve year NBA career, Ellis averaged 17.8 PPG, 4.6 APG, and 3.5 RPG. He also averaged 45.1% from the field and 31.4% from behind the arc in 34.8 minutes per game. Ellis also was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 2007.
Last month in an interview, Ellis stated
“I believe I still have a lot in my tank. I can still play five years,… “If I have an opportunity to do it, it is what it is. If I don’t, I’ll still be a husband and a father, and I have an AAU program. I’m good either way. But to come back, to be able challenge myself and do the thing that I haven’t done in a while, that will be a big challenge that I am willing to accept if it comes.”
Ellis may have a better shot of making the Dallas Mavericks roster rather than the Houston Rockets due to the crowded backcourt. The Rockets already have two young prospects Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. that will be mentored by veterans John Wall and Eric Gordon. However, in the case of an injury, having depth is never a bad option.
It will be interesting if either of the three players will get training camp invites and secure a roster spot on an NBA squad.