Utah Jazz give a former NBA All-Star a shot with the G League SLC Stars

Isaiah Thomas hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2021-22 season.

FILE - Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) drives to the basket past Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, in this Nov. 28, 2016, file photo. Two-time NBA All-Star Isaiah Thomas hopes playing this weekend with USA Basketball in FIBA AmeriCup qualifying in Puerto Rico gives an NBA club reason to sign him.. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Jazz CEO Danny Ainge knows Isaiah Thomas well. After all, Thomas had his best years as the Celtics’ star point guard in Boston, garnering two All-Star bids, one All-NBA second-team spot, and a run to the Eastern Conference Finals under Ainge’s leadership.

It appears Ainge wants to give Thomas one more chance at regaining his former form.

The Jazz, on Tuesday, gave the diminutive guard a spot on their G-League roster with the Salt Lake City Stars “in pursuit of an NBA return for the stretch run,” according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Thomas, if he plays well, would then be eligible to be called up by any NBA team to finish the season or even play in the playoffs.

After being drafted by the Kings with the last pick in the 2011 draft, the 5-foot-9 Thomas impressed with his scoring ability inside and outside the arc. He received votes for Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player, and Sixth Man of the Year in his first four years in the NBA with the Kings and Suns.

Thomas’ career really took off with the Celtics, though. In the 2016-17 season, he averaged 28.9 points per game while leading Boston to an improbable playoff run before losing to LeBron James’ Cavaliers team in the Eastern Conference Finals. The next offseason, though, Ainge would trade Thomas to the Cavs for former rival Kyrie Irving.

From that move forward, Thomas was really never the same player, as hip injuries proved to sap his quickness and athleticism. He played for seven different teams in his final five seasons. Now 35, hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2021-22 season, when he bounced around with the Lakers, Mavericks, and Hornets.

But Thomas has been asking for a second chance since last May — one he’ll finally get in Salt Lake City. The Stars have 11 games left in their season, giving Thomas the chance to show his current abilities against younger pro talents.