After losing the first two games of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics ruled Isaiah Thomas out for the remainder of the playoffs due to a hip injury. Since then, it has not been an easy calendar year for him.
During the 2017-18 NBA season, Thomas missed the first 36 games before making his debut for the Cavaliers. Following just 15 games in Cleveland, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers before ultimately opting for season-ending hip surgery on March 28.
With an initial return timetable of four months, the 29-year-old shared some good news about his recovery during the offseason on Twitter:
I haven’t been able to really workout & get better in over a year! Finally pain free. This is going to be fun!!! #ThatSLOWgrind
— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) May 16, 2018
However, Thomas is reportedly not back on the court participating in basketball activities yet, according to Bill Oram of the Southern California News Group:
Thomas underwent hip surgery on March 28 with an initial timeline of four months. I’m told he’s not yet back to doing work on the court, but this is a positive sign for the Lakers free agent. https://t.co/546ZA5xmd8
— Bill Oram (@billoram) May 16, 2018
Considering the circumstances, this is good news for Thomas as he prepares for free agency. While there will still be doubt if Thomas can return to his All-Star form, there are a couple teams with salary cap space that are in need of a point guard and could take a chance on him on a short-term contract.
As for the Lakers, it is no secret they have created the necessary cap space to sign LeBron James and Paul George. If their plan ultimately does not work out, there is a scenario where Thomas could return to Los Angeles on a one-year deal to preserve cap space for 2019 free agency.
In this scenario, the challenge will be persuading Thomas to accept a sixth man role. Although Thomas played significant minutes off the bench in 17 games for the Lakers, the two-time All-Star still wants to start, and Lonzo Ball has established himself as the team’s starting point guard for head coach Luke Walton.