The NBA free agency period started slow, got some momentum going after LeBron signed, and then has screeched to a slow pace once again. All of the big-name players have pretty much secured where they are playing next year, but there are some players that have yet to be claimed. One of those unclaimed players is Isaiah Thomas. The diminutive guard had one rough 2017-2018 season. First, he had hip surgery last offseason from an injury he suffered during the season and he played through. Then he was traded last offseason to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He got on the court for the Cavs, but after some rumblings in the locker room that involved him reportedly causing issues, he was shipped to the Los Angeles Lakers as the Cavs flipped half their roster midseason. After arriving in Los Angeles, he played for a little while and then decided it was time to have that hip looked at again. He again had surgery and his season was over. Thomas, who was once famously talking about a team having to back up the Brinks truck for him, had one of his worse seasons in terms of health and play. Now as it stands, he is currently out of a job right now. As talented a player as Thomas is, there are teams that need his services, but there are few reasons why he is not signed.
The most obvious reason is the injury he is coming off of. The hip injury he suffered in Boston seems to have never went away and he is hoping that this new procedure that was done will take away the pain. The reality is that as you get older, the type of injury he has will not go completely away. You use your hips to do just about everything on the court. There has to be some concern that he can even make it through a season healthy at all. So because of those doubts about that hip potentially being out there, some teams are thinking they need to go with some solid players that can be available as opposed to being questionable. The other issue is probably the money he is wanting. Thomas had a successful career up to the point of last season, so he probably feels he deserves a good chunk of money. The reality is he had a bad season and there is not very much money out there at all with a team that he could help win games.
The best thing Isaiah can do this season is take a mid-level exception from a team. There are some teams that have that $4.5-5$ million available for him for one season. The deal would give him solid money considering the injury he came off of. The length of the deal will also be a win-win for both he and the team. In signing a one-year deal, it will allow Isaiah Thomas to be a player in the free agent market of 2019, where plenty of teams will have money to burn and will be willing to pay top dollar. If he has a good bounceback season, he will be able to get a very good deal. Maybe not the Brinks truck, but he will definitely get good money. As far as a team that could pay him for this upcoming season, there would be limited money tied up with Thomas' contract and there would also be a one-year commitment to him, which keeps the team freed up for 2019's free agency bonanza. The only thing that would make a one-year deal with Thomas even better would be insurance protection on the deal, protecting the club if he were to get injured again.
Isaiah Thomas is a case of one bad year and injury altering his path of getting paid. Unfortunately for him, he will have questions about his hip that may never go away. While the situation may look bleak for him, there is always sunshine that comes after the rain. All he has to do is have one good, injury-free season and he could be back on the radar for a good deal. We shall see what happens next on his basketball journey.