Just one year ago, Isaiah Thomas, was seen as an elite NBA point guard. Earning about six million per year, Thomas averaged over 30 points per game in the 2017 season while also leading a young Celtics team to the Eastern Conference Finals. However, following a hip injury, Thomas was then traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Kyrie Irving, Thus initiating the beginning of the end for Thomas’ tumultuous season. A season that was filled with injuries, frustrations, and an inability to perform on the court, Thomas’ 2018 campaign was one he’d like to forget. To give you a reference for just how poor Isaiah performed over the past year compared to 2017, take a look at the stats below.
- 2017: 28.9 PPG, 5.9 APG, 46.3 FG%, 37.9 3P%, 26.5 PER, 76 GP
- 2018: 15.2 PPG, 4.8 APG, 37.3 FG%, 29.3 3P%, 12.6 PER, 32 GP
Drastically worse in every category, it’s safe to say that this past season has done unrepairable damage to Thomas’ upcoming free agency. However, according to the man himself, Thomas has lost no faith in his free agency value.
“‘I’m a max (contract) guy, so I deserve the max,’ Thomas told CSN New England.
And if Isaiah is genuinely set on that mindset, it is unlikely he will get offers from “contending” teams. But many lower tier teams have a lot of money to throw and this offseason and could take a chance on the 2x all-star. So with that being said, let’s take a look at possible suitors for Isaiah Thomas’ upcoming free agency.
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With some young talent in Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr. and Zach Lavine, the Bulls have a reasonably bright future. However, their current roster setup lacks a competent point guard. And with an abundance of cap space over the next couple years, Chicago is in a position where they could take a chance on signing an injured Isaiah Thomas to a max deal without any repercussions. But if Thomas is able to return to his former self, that will put Chicago in a position to make a run for the playoffs and get their young talent some much-needed postseason reps.
Another team with an abundance of cap space and undeveloped talent, the Magic are in desperate need of a point guard. Thomas could not only provide a veteran presence in a locker room full of unproven rookies but also help revamp the leagues 26th ranked offense. Not to mention the terror him and teammate Mo Bamba could cause with their pick and rolls. So although Orlando may not be the sexiest free agency destination, they have the talent and cap space to accommodate Thomas’ needs.
Los Angeles Lakers
Yes, we’ve all heard the rumors of Paul George, LeBron James, and Kawhi Leonard heading to L.A. However, with all of those names comes a sea of uncertainty, and there is a genuine possibility the city of angels will walk away with none of these three talents. So if Los Angeles does end up missing out on two or more of these players, they could look to re-sign Isaiah Thomas. Despite his lackluster play for them off the bench, with more time to heal and work on his game, he could be a perfect second scoring option. However, the only problem is the Lakers are very unlikely to offer Thomas the max which could be enough to make him walk away entirely. Either way, both Los Angeles and Isaiah will have major decisions to make in the coming weeks.