Los Angeles Lakers point guard Isaiah Thomas will become an unrestricted free agent in the upcoming offseason. Despite mostly coming off the bench, Thomas continues to improve his performance to prove every NBA team that he can still return to his All-Star form. However, Thomas’ stint with the Lakers may not last long, especially with the presence of Lonzo Ball in Los Angeles.
According to DJ Dunson of Yahoo Sports, Isaiah Thomas and the Lakers could part ways in free agency. Dunson believes Thomas is not the type of player the Lakers plan to sign to a maximum deal. Also, in an interview with Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, the All-Star point guard made it clear that he will only sign with a team who can assure him a starting role.
“I’m not no sixth man,” Thomas said.
“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.”
The Lakers engaged in a trade deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers to free salary cap space in preparation with their plan two sign two maximum-salaried players in free agency. However, one of the expiring contracts, Isaiah Thomas, they acquired turned out to be somebody who could help them end their playoff drought. According to Bill Oram of Orange County Register, Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton believes they can compete for the playoffs with their current roster.
However, the Lakers didn’t sacrifice talented and young players just to build a playoff contender. As most people think, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka will use their salary cap space to sign superstars that can bring the purple and gold back to the NBA Finals. Also, the Lakers have Lonzo Ball as their starting point guard, giving them no reason to prioritize re-signing Isaiah Thomas this summer.
As Dunson noted, the market for undersized volume-scoring point guards like Thomas is “bearish.” After losing Chris Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers may consider signing Thomas at a reasonable price to boost their offense. They could pair him with Patrick Beverley to balance out his issues on the defensive end of the floor.
Another team that could sign Thomas is the San Antonio Spurs. He could be the perfect replacement for Tony Parker, who could retire after this season. Thomas will serve as the Spurs starting point guard while waiting for the full development of Dejounte Murray. Playing under Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich will undeniably help Thomas revive his NBA career. Pairing him with LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard will make the Spurs a team to fear in the Western Conference next season.