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Isaiah Thomas reportedly signing 10-day contract with Suns in NBA return

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 28: Isaiah Thomas #4 of the Charlotte Hornets brings the ball up court against the Denver Nuggets during their game at Spectrum Center on March 28, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Isaiah Thomas is back in the NBA. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) (Jacob Kupferman via Getty Images)

NBA veteran Isaiah Thomas could return to the big stage for the first time in two years.

The 35-year-old is planning to sign a 10-day contract with the Phoenix Suns, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Saturday.

Thomas made his most recent NBA appearance for the Charlotte Hornets in April 2022. He played 17 games for the Hornets, averaging 8.3 points in 12.9 minutes per game. His time in Charlotte marked the end of a string of 22 games that saw him also play for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks. All three of those stints began with separate 10-day contracts.

The latest deal comes after the former Boston Celtics All-Star signed with the Salt Lake City Stars, G League affiliate of the Utah Jazz, earlier this month. He averaged 32.5 points in four games, adding 5.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals.

He delivered his most recent 30-point performance hours before the news dropped, scoring 34 points Saturday in a win for Stars.

Thomas' NBA career, which began with the Sacramento Kings in 2011, reached a hurdle when he sustained a hip injury while playing for the Celtics in 2017. He opted to keep playing through the pain in his hip and the loss of his younger sister during the playoffs, aiding the team's run to the Eastern Conference Finals that postseason.

Those playoffs saw Thomas score 33 points in the East semifinals despite losing his tooth to then-Washington Wizard Otto Porter Jr.s' elbow. The dental emergency didn't immediately hamper Thomas, as he scored 53 points against the Wizards in the next game. He was eventually ruled out for the rest of the postseason, then sent to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade.

He lost his trademark speed after the hip injury and made stops with the Wizards, Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans. He was unsigned when the 2021-22 season started, hence his series of 10-day contracts.

After scoring 34 points in a win for the Stars on Tuesday, he opened up about his drive to keep striving for an NBA comeback.

“I just love this s*** too much,” Thomas told The Athletic. “I had a few tough years where sometimes you just feel like quitting because it’s too much. But I always say that’s the easy thing to do. So I just stayed at it, continued to trust the process, continued to enjoy the journey. Whether it was ups or downs, I’m back playing basketball. I’m back healthy. It’s just a super cool feeling because I never thought I would be able to play with no pain no more.”