The Los Angeles Lakers will have big decisions to make in free agency. They are expected to aggressively pursue LeBron James and Paul George, but they also need to decide if they will keep their own free agents like veteran point guard Isaiah Thomas.
Thomas, who was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers before the trade deadline, recently underwent arthroscopic surgery to address his hip issues. While the Lakers are expected to focus on signing max-level free agents, there is a chance for Thomas to remain in Los Angeles. But according to Ed Schrenzel of Lake Show Life, the Lakers should consider letting the former Boston Celtics superstar walk away this summer.
Schrenzel said that the Lakers could keep Thomas for several reasons. He cited the fact that Thomas could provide instant offense for the Lakers along with veteran leadership to their relatively young roster. However, he also added that letting the 29-year-old sign elsewhere also makes a lot of sense for the Lakers.
One of the reasons why Schrenzel thinks that keeping Thomas is not a good idea is the possibility of him stunting the growth of budding stars Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. The two-time All-Star needs the ball in his hands a lot to become effective. And if the Lakers let him run the show, it could have a negative effect on the development of both Ball and Ingram moving forward.
Thomas could also create some tension inside the locker room if he becomes frustrated with his role. He agreed to come off the bench for the Lakers this season, but he previously made it clear that he views himself as a starter for any team in the league.
The seven-year veteran, who was the 60th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, told Sam Amick of USA Today that he is not a sixth man. He said that everybody should know that he deserves to start, pointing out that he is a two-time All-Star in the league, and has done a lot of things in the past if given the right opportunity.
His health could be a lingering issue as well moving forward. The former Washington standout only played 32 games this season because of a hip injury. According to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN, Thomas is expected to be out for at least the next four months following the procedure.
Thomas played 15 games for the Cavaliers, where he averaged 14.7 points and 4.5 assists before getting traded to the Lakers. In 17 games in Los Angeles, the 2017 All-NBA Second Team member posted 15.6 points and 5.0 assists before re-injuring his hip late last month.