David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers might have pulled off the heist of the NBA season by adding Isaiah Thomas’ expiring contract and change from the Cleveland Cavaliers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. It will put the Lakers in a much better position when free agency comes calling this summer. Thomas is on an expiring contract, while Clarkson has two years and north of $25 million remaining on his current deal.

Thomas’ immediate fit with the Lakers is not yet known. As of now, it stands to reason that he’ll actually back up rookie Lonzo Ball at the point. It led to some thought that Los Angeles simply might decide to buy out Thomas. But according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, that’s not going to happen.

At the very least, this gives Los Angeles a couple months to see if Thomas could potentially fit in with what the team is building moving froward. It beats the heck out of simply buying him out.

Despite his struggles in Cleveland and injury concerns, Thomas will be a highly sought after figure in free agency. The Lakers themselves are going to be looking to add top-end talent. Getting a first-hand view of how he might fit in could help the team’s process.

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This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.

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