IT to wear No. 24 for Pelicans in nod to Kobe

Isaiah Thomas will wear No. 24 for the New Orleans Pelicans in a nod to Kobe Bryant.

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The Pelicans officially signed the point guard to a 10-day contract on Saturday. Thomas responded to the team’s tweet detailing his jersey selection by saying, “Kobe!!!!”

He started his career wearing No. 22 with the Sacramento Kings and has also worn Nos. 3, 4, 7 and 0 at other points in his career.

Thomas will be available for the Pelicans starting with Sunday’s game at Houston. And he might be needed right away.

The Pelicans are struggling with injuries right now with five players on the injury report. Zion Williamson (right thumb strain), Brandon Ingram (right first MTP irritation) and Lonzo Ball (right hip flexor strain) are listed as questionable. Williamson and Ingram have missed two straight games, while Ball has missed seven in a row.

Pelicans guard Josh Hart (torn UCL in right thumb) is expected to miss significant time because of his injury, and backup point guard Kira Lewis, a rookie who had a career-high 21 points in Friday’s game against Atlanta, is doubtful with a strained right calf.

Thomas has not played an NBA game since Feb. 3, 2020, with the Washington Wizards. He did play two games with Team USA this February, leading the team in scoring in FIBA qualifying wins over the Bahamas and Mexico while shooting 50% from deep (6-of-12).

During the 2019-20 season, Thomas averaged 12.2 points and 3.7 assists in 40 games with the Wizards.

Thomas, 32, is a two-time All-Star who was a second-team All-NBA selection in 2017 after averaging 28.9 points per game for the Boston Celtics while helping lead them to the top seed in the Eastern Conference. But a hip injury Thomas suffered that season has slowed him down ever since.

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