Isaiah Thomas got his first start for the Lakers Wednesday night; prior to that he had come off the bench in his first 13 games with Los Angeles since coming over at the trade deadline. Thomas has improved as the season has gone along—he's certainly been better with the Lakers than he was during his disastrous stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers—but he has still looked like a shell of himself.

Thomas, however, was a legitimate MVP candidate with the Boston Celtics last season, and he isn't ready to accept a bench role—either now, with the Lakers, or in the future. His contract expires at the end of this season. Thomas doesn't plan to sign with a team that wants to bring him off of the bench.

"I'm not no sixth man," Thomas declared in an interview with USA Today's Sam Amick. "And I won't be a sixth man (in the future). I just want everybody to know that, like clear as can be. I'm a two-time All-Star and a starter who has done things that a lot of people in this league haven't done (when) given that opportunity."

Thomas said he couldn't control his role with the Lakers—he was traded to Los Angeles, so it wasn't his choice to join the team—which is why he was cool with coming off the bench for the early part of his tenure in Los Angeles.

"There's nothing bad against Luke Walton," Thomas said. "There's nothing bad against the Los Angeles Lakers. I'm taking advantage of the opportunity they've given me, and then (we'll) end the season off strong."

Thomas is putting up 15.7 points, 5.0 assists, and 2.1 rebounds per game while shooting 30.5 percent from three-point range.