One year ago, the thought of Isaiah Thomas receiving a max contract seemed to be a no-brainer. After coming off a 2016-17 campaign where he averaged a career-high 28.9 points per game, and became the stuff of folklore with his one-man 4th quarter performances, Thomas believed his value to the Boston Celtics warranted that the team should "bring the Brinks truck out."
What a difference a year makes.
After nearly a week into the NBA free agency period, Thomas is still available, and just looking for a team to take a chance on him. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski believes that even though there is "great interest" in the two-time All-Star, most organizations view him as a backup point guard at this point. "I think you’ll see talks with him start to heat up in the next few days as we have gotten through that first wave of players," Wojnarowski said.
How has Thomas gone from a max contract consideration to an overlooked player in free agency? All signs point to lingering concerns over his surgically repaired hip. His injury nearly prevented the deal between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Celtics, which involved Kyrie Irving, from going through. One month after making his long-awaited Cavaliers debut, IT was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, playing just 17 games before undergoing season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his right hip.
If Thomas can get past his hip issues, he has the potential to be a steal in free agency. However, it’s hard for any NBA team to confidently invest any amount of money in a player with so many injury concerns.