Concerns over hip likely to hurt IT in free agency

Sam Amico

Point guard Isaiah Thomas may be looking at a one-year "prove yourself" type of contract in free agency this summer, according to a report from Sporting News.

Thomas started the season with the Cleveland Cavaliers but was shipped to the Los Angeles Lakers in February. He opted for surgery on his injured right hip -- an injury suffered as a member of the Boston Celtics during last year's Eastern Conference finals.

That injury has greatly damaged Thomas' value as he heads into free agency, per Sporting News, citing several team executives.

"It’s a red flag that he did not have surgery on it (last year)," a general manager told Sporting News. "If you have a problem that can be fixed heading into your free-agent year, you get surgery. If there is concern that you can’t fix it with surgery, that means probably there is something more wrong. It is something that, obviously, the doctors will look at closely."

Thomas is 5-foot-9 and considered a liability on defense. GMs wonder if his hip may be arthritic. After averaging 28.9 last season with the Celtics, he struggled mightily with the Cavaliers and according to multiple Amico Hoops sources, was often was the source of issues in the locker room.

Thomas played better with the Lakers, filling in for and backing up prized rookie Lonzo Ball. Still, Thomas averaged just 15.6 points on 38 percent shooting in 17 games with LA.

"Just given the way he played last year, I think you can’t go more than one year on him," another front office exec told Sporting News. "Maybe you can do two years if you hold the second year at your option. That’s before you even get into whether he is healthy."

The Lakers are believed to be open to bringing Thomas back, but again, likely only a smaller and shorter contract.