As teams are looking to finalize their rosters ahead of training camp, a trio of NBA veterans — Isaiah Thomas, Lance Stephenson and Monta Ellis– worked out for the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Charania reported that Thomas, specifically, appeared in great shape.
Thomas last appeared in an NBA game with the New Orleans Pelicans last season, but it’s been a bit longer for the other two. Stephenson’s last appearance came as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019, while Ellis last played for the Indiana Pacers in 2017. All three are obviously pushing to make a return to the league, though we’ll have to wait and see if any of them actually make it on the Mavs.
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Despite the long layoff, Ellis, 35, is confident he still has a lot to give to the game. “I believe I still have a lot in my tank. I can still play five years,” Ellis said last month. “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.”
Similarly, Thomas, who was hampered by injury issues over the past few years, recently said that he feels as good as ever following a hip procedure.
“I’m 102 percent. I’m more than good,” Thomas said in April. “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.”
As for Stephenson, the Mavs aren’t the only team that he has auditioned for. He also held a private workout for the Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets last month. At the very least, all three players could provide a team with some veteran experience. It will be interesting to see if any of them get training camp invites.