One of the most persistent sources of NBA free agent rumors around the Los Angeles Lakers since the team acquired Isaiah Thomas at the trade deadline was scuttlebutt over whether or not the diminutive guard would re-sign with the team this summer.
The Lakers obviously have bigger frying pans in the fire with their expected pursuits of LeBron James and Paul George, and Thomas has made it clear he’ll be seeking the best offer for himself, no matter where it comes from.
But his options may be limited in light of undergoing season-ending surgery on a hip that has dogged him since the 2017 Eastern Conference playoffs. Nonetheless, the Lakers reportedly still have interest in potentially re-signing the former MVP candidate.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, it’s in large part due to Lakers head coach Luke Walton being ecstatic with what he’s seen from Thomas and the impact on the team’s young core:
Lakers coach Luke Walton and the front office have been encouraged by Thomas’ fit with the team, and Walton feels he’s had a positive impact on the younger players, team sources told ESPN.
It was initially reported in the wake of the team’s acquisition of Thomas in February that he wouldn’t be pleased with a role coming off of the bench. And while Thomas has said that’s not his goal for next season, he has shown an acceptance of his role and good attitude since the traded for him.
Although Thomas clearly wants to start next year, if he doesn’t receive those types of offers in free agency and this health setback doesn’t prove to be a longterm problem, re-signing Thomas to a team-friendly contract be a decent option for Los Angeles if their bigger free agent plans don’t pan out.
Re-signing with L.A. would let Thomas enter free agency when his stock might be higher and allow the Lakers delaying signing other players to long-term deals while their core develops. Such a reunion clearly wouldn’t be either side’s first option, but it could be a way for both to kick the can down the road on making decisions about their futures.