Last season, Isaiah Thomas was having a career year — All-NBA, fifth in the MVP voting — and while his hip was bothering him he played through it because that’s who he is.
In the offseason, he didn’t want to have surgery to deal with the labral tear in his right hip (the cushion around the bone in the joint) because Thomas was heading into a contract year and didn’t want the surgery to be a red flag in free agency. That despite Cleveland doctors reportedly pushing for it after the trade because they saw an impingement — meaning Thomas’s hip is not smooth and round as is the standard “ball” shape of that joint – which would lead to more likely tears if fixed. Thomas missed the first half of the season, was traded to the Lakers, and never played near last season’s level (but had moments in LA off the bench).
Now this — Thomas is having surgery on the hip this Thursday, the Lakers announced.
What a brutal last 11 months for Thomas. It’s hard not to wonder “what if?” Had he just had the surgery right after Boston’s season ended… we will never know.
Thomas’ season is over. More importantly for him, waiting on the surgery until now means the red flag is definitely up — in what will be a tight free agent market this summer he is not going to get the Brinks truck backed up to his door like he had hoped. He’ll get a deal, maybe for more money than he has ever made in a season ($7.3 is below the NBA median, someone will pay him that), but Thomas may need to take a one-year deal to return to the Lakers, or maybe a short contract with a team that can give him plenty of run, to show he’s all the way back so he can cash in on a deal in a summer or two.
Hopefully, Thomas gets healthy again, the league is far more entertaining with him doing his thing.