Here’s some awful news:
This would be the hip that ended Thomas’s 2016-17 season two games into the Eastern Conference Finals, and that kept him out of this season until January; the one almost certainly responsible for him playing like a very terrible parody of himself for the Cavaliers and then, after they traded him away, for the Lakers. The one with the torn labrum and “a loss of cartilage and some arthritis,” according to a September report from The Athletic.
Isaiah Thomas almost certainly is the smallest player in the NBA, possibly by several inches, depending on whether you believe J.J. Barea’s dubious official height of six feet. His entire game is based on his quickness and burst. He’s 29 years old, an age at which even shoot-first point guards who are not almost comically undersized and who do not have damaged and arthritic hips commonly begin a steep decline into uselessness. He’s coming off what will be not just the worst season of his career, by far, but one of the worst individual campaigns anybody in the NBA had in 2017-18, one in which basically all his performance metrics fell over a cliff and the team that patiently waited out his injury rehab for four months dumped him on bad terms less than a month after he finally got back on the court. And he will be entering unrestricted free agency this summer. All of that was going against him even before surgery almost certainly ended his season. Now he is fuuuuuucked.
Maybe you don’t particularly like Isaiah Thomas. He has a bit of a reputation for being disagreeable and not well-liked by teammates or coaches, he tends to hog the ball a little bit, and unless he happens to be your favorite player, the odds are good he has talked merciless shit to your favorite player (or your favorite player’s mom!) (or you personally!), probably after burying a huge shot to kill your favorite team. Still, this is awful. Less than a year ago Thomas was not just the feel-good story of the NBA—the diminutive chucker picked dead last in the 2011 draft by the backwater Sacramento Kings, who’d chucked and ducked and darted his way through a series of castoff trades to MVP candidacy for one of the league’s flagship teams—but one of its brightest and most amazing viewing spectacles, a genuinely breathtaking scoring force who went nuclear in fourth quarters almost nightly. Last spring—just last spring!—he was the hero who carried the Boston Celtics to the East’s top playoff seed and a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals while losing teeth and grieving the sudden tragic death of his little sister. He was a legend. He was appointment television. He was a superstar who’d have the power to demand “the Brinks truck” when free agency arrived.
Beyond the recovery process on his hip, Thomas’ future with the Lakers would depend largely on the franchise’s success in recruiting Cleveland’s LeBron James and Oklahoma City’s Paul George into the organization’s salary-cap space.
If the Lakers are unsuccessful in those recruitments, it would significantly increase the front office’s interest in exploring one-year deals for the 2018-19 season to preserve future salary-cap space, league sources told ESPN.
...if the Lakers fail to strike gold in free agency, he might be a candidate for a one-year contract. And that’s only if his career isn’t just over.
This is awful. That’s it. Awful.