Los Angeles Lakers point guard Isaiah Thomas might be forced to find a new home this summer. Thomas will be an unrestricted free agent, and the Lakers are expected to go after LeBron James and Paul George first before deciding whether to keep the All-Star point guard in purple and gold next season.
Thomas struggled to get his rhythm back this season because of his hip issues. It remains to be seen if he can still regain his status as one of the top point guards in the league. But according to Ira Winderman of South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Miami Heat could help Thomas resurrect his career.
Winderman said that signing with the Heat makes a lot of sense for Thomas if he wants to prove that he is still one of the elite players in the league. He pointed out that the Heat have the knack of helping players revive their careers. His former teammates Kelly Olynyk and Dwyane Wade could also make a transition easier than expected.
However, the likelihood of a deal depends on what Thomas will demand from the Heat should they express interest in signing him. The 29-year-old point guard was eyeing a max-level deal this summer, but such contract is now out of the picture because of his hip issues.
His possible role in Miami could also become a factor in the negotiation. Thomas told Sam Amick of USA Today that he is not a sixth man in the league, insisting that he deserves to start for any team. The Heat already have a starting point guard in Goran Dragic, which could complicate things between Thomas and the Heat.
However, Winderman pointed out that Thomas might soften his stance on his role and contract demands because he recently underwent an arthroscopic hip surgery. Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN reported that the two-time All-Star will be out for at least four months following the surgery last week.
The Heat can only offer their mid-level exception to Thomas unless they enter into trades to create more cap space. The Heat were mentioned in recent trade rumors after starting center Hassan Whiteside expressed his frustration over his lack of playing minutes in Miami.
Whiteside’s rant generated speculation that the Heat will decide to put him on the trading block this summer. However, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra clarified that the incident is now behind them, and that Whiteside remains committed to Miami, according to Shandel Richardson of South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“It’s behind us,” Spoelstra said. “You can tell right now by the mood of the gym that’s long gone. The only reason we’re addressing out of obligation to all of you because it really is a team matter, a family matter.”