Isaiah Thomas trade rumors have continued to emerge, even as he was already ruled out for the rest of the season and the playoffs. According to LA Sports Hub, one of the latest speculations about the two-time NBA All-Star is a potential move to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for veteran big man Al Jefferson.
Thomas, 29, is currently rehabbing from a hip surgery he had in New York last month. The operation aimed to repair a torn labrum in his right hip initially suffered during last year’s playoffs while he was still with the Boston Celtics, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The former Washington Huskies star played through the injury in the last postseason before the Celtics eventually shut him down after Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. Thomas was sidelined for seven months, a time period which saw him get traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a package that included Kyrie Irving.
Thomas was able to return to the basketball court in early January, but has never regained his old MVP-caliber self. He suited up in only 15 games for the Cavs before he was traded again to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deadline day deal. Thomas then went on to play 17 games for the Lakers before deciding to go under the knife to finally repair his injured hip.
LA Sports Hub’s Jason Reed predicted that a sign-and-trade deal that would move him to the Pacers is more likely to happen in the coming offseason rather than him staying in Los Angeles. According to Reed, the trade would send Thomas and the Lakers’ 2018 first-round pick (via Cleveland) to the Pacers for Jefferson and Indiana’s own 2018 first-rounder, which is three spots higher than L.A.’s as of the moment.
The reporter presumed that Thomas would first agree to a $12 million-a-year deal with the Lakers before the trade moves forward. Jefferson’s expiring contract is a tad below $10 million annually, which would not interfere with Magic Johnson’s free agency plans next year when superstars such as Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, and Jimmy Butler could be available.
Reed said that the 33-year-old Jefferson “would provide a veteran presence” and frontcourt depth for head coach Luke Walton’s squad while being on a team friendly contract. Meanwhile, Thomas could form a formidable one-two backcourt punch for the Pacers when paired with shooting guard Victor Oladipo, as previously reported by Inquisitr.