Isaiah Thomas will become a free agent after the 2017-18 NBA season. The All-Star point guard has been contributing well for the Los Angeles Lakers since the trade-deadline move from the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, his recent strong play does not give him an assurance that he will get a new deal from the Lakers this summer.
The Lakers have big plans in the offseason, as they are expected to chase LeBron James and Paul George. If both or one of their superstar targets decides to sign elsewhere, Thomas might earn another deal from Los Angeles. However, Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated said that signing him to a long-term contract might lead to a disaster for the Lakers.
Sharp said that giving Thomas a long-term contract would be a “tremendous risk” for the Lakers. While Thomas appears to be getting closer to finding his old rhythm, Sharp thinks the 29-year-old point guard is not worth a gamble because of his health issues and inability to play defense.
Thomas started the season on the sidelines because of a hip injury. While he is making progress as of late, it remains to be seen whether or not the seven-year veteran can stay healthy. The former Washington standout has also been a defensive liability at times because opposing point guards are usually bigger than the 5-foot-9 playmaker. These are the main reasons why Sharp is convinced that Thomas might not become an All-Star again.
Barring a late-season eruption, Thomas is not expected to get a lucrative deal this summer. If he wants to stay in Los Angeles, he might need to settle for a one-year, prove-it deal for next season. He will get another chance to improve his stock in Los Angeles, while the Lakers will also keep their cap flexibility for a possible run at 2019 free agents.
Thomas will consider all options in free agency, and he actually said that a return to the Boston Celtics is not out of the picture. He blasted Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge last year following that trade that sent him to the Cavaliers in exchange for Kyrie Irving. But when asked on Twitter if he will consider returning to Boston, the two-time All-Star said that anything can happen in the future.
According to Harrison Faigen of Lakers Nation, a reunion between Thomas and the Celtics is more possible that most people think. Teams are not expected to break the bank on Thomas in free agency. And if forced to choose between getting a below-average contract and returning to the team he loves, Faigen said that the latter is the “most likely” option for Thomas even if it means playing behind Irving.