Programming note: Kings-Suns coverage starts tonight at 5:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California with Kings Pregame Live (territorial restrictions apply)
Isaiah Thomas averaged 20.3 points, 6.3 assists and 34.7 minutes per game for the Kings last season, but in lieu of retaining the point guard, the Kings opted to sign free agent Darren Collison and let Thomas walk.
“I want to show those guys that they made a mistake," Thomas, now with the Suns, told the Phoenix media on Wednesday. "But at the same time, it’s about winning.”
Back in early August, shortly after the sign-and-trade deal that sent Thomas to Phoenix, the 5-foot-9 ball-handler was a bit more fiery with his comments.
"I tell everybody I love Sacramento," Thomas told Sactown Royalty. "I always will love Sacramento, but when we play them I’m going to kill Sacramento."
[REWIND: Thomas: 'I'm going to kill Sacramento']
Kings head coach Michael Malone has praise for the former Washington Huskie, who is leading the Suns in scoring off the bench, averaging 18.6 points per.
“I have nothing but love for Isaiah," Malone said. "He’s got a great passion for the game. ... He’s a competitor. I have a lot of respect for him as a player and man.”
Both parties know full well that love will be lost and intense competition will be found for 48 minutes at the US Airways Center on Friday night.
Collison, along with Ben McLemore, will be tasked with slowing down the Suns' three-headed monster at guard -- Thomas, Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe.
In Thomas' absence, Collison is off to a solid start, averaging 15 points, 6.8 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.
With the plethora of guards in action tonight, expect Malone to go with a small-ball lineup to keep Thomas from fulfilling his promise.