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Longtime Knick Lance Thomas looking forward to Nets chance

Longtime Knick Lance Thomas looking forward to Nets chance

July 19, 2020 | 3:41am

Back home are Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince and Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Wilson Chandler and DeAndre Jordan. That’s a lot of valuable experience the Nets will be without once the NBA restart begins in Orlando, Fla., after a shutdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Which is where Lance Thomas steps in.

The former Knick has been in the league for nearly a decade, and like fellow newcomer and graybeard Jamal Crawford, can provide wisdom to his younger teammates.

“Great veteran presence,” Jarrett Allen said of Thomas following Saturday’s practice, via Zoom. “Coming in all of our older guys — I hope they get better — they all came down with coronavirus, and we’re stuck with a younger team. But now having these older guys in here being able to guide us and show us the ropes, I think that helps us tremendously.”

The 32-year-old Thomas is thrilled to have the opportunity. The defensive-minded forward spent training camp with the Nets, but he was waived on Oct. 18. Nobody picked him up following four seasons with the Knicks. He stayed mostly at home in his New York City apartment due to the virus until June, but stayed in shape and had recently been working out at the NBAPA’s gym.

Lance Thomas
Lance ThomasGetty Images

Once Nets players began opting out, a need arose. He was signed on Tuesday as a substitute player for Michael Beasley and practiced for the first time on Saturday.

“It was great to get out of quarantine,” he said. “Sitting in the room for about six-to-seven days, I was itching to get back on the court. I reacclimated with the guys and I was excited for the opportunity.”

Though Thomas hasn’t played for a while, he does have an advantage having spent training camp with the Nets. Still, there are adjustments that have to be made, and he has to play his way back into basketball shape. Still, he doesn’t think it will take him too long, considering basketball is his life, saying there is a lot of muscle memory.

Me, personally, I’m going to just be tenacious,” Thomas said. “Make open shots, do whatever the team needs me to do, probably guard the other team’s best player, do things that got me into the league, things that I enjoy doing. … I play the hand I’m dealt. I think myself being a player who’s been in the league you learn how to quickly adapt to any situation. Again, I’m ready for whatever comes my way.”

Interim coach Jacque Vaughn said on his first day, Thomas did mostly individual work. But he expects him to be a significant part of the team.

“He’ll fit into the group, be able to play multiple positions, which we need,” Vaughn said.


During practice, Vaughn showed his players a video commemorating the life of Congressman and civil rights movement icon John Lewis, who died Friday at the age of 80 from pancreatic cancer. Vaughn told them he was one of five people on his dinner wish list.

“Speaking for the organization, extremely pleased we are able to just enlighten and education our guys on a human being who dedicated am major part of his life for others and for the social well-being of all humans,” he said. “An ideal time for us to lean into gratitude and lean into joy into our life and commemorate a guy who stood for a lot for a lot of human beings.”


The Nets signed guard/forward Justin Anderson on Saturday as a substitute player for the rest of the season, filling their last available roster spot.

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