Isaiah Thomas’ season likely is over. But what about his Los Angeles Lakers tenure?
Thomas will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right hip Thursday, the Lakers announced Wednesday.
L.A. didn’t offer a timetable for his return, but the doctor performing the surgery, Dr. Bryan Kelly of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, described it as a “minimally invasive procedure to ‘clean up’ the joint of all inflammatory debris related to his injury from last season,” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Thomas still is expected to miss the remainder of the season, though.
Thomas battled through a painful hip injury last season with the Boston Celtics that ultimately forced him out of the Eastern Conference finals and caused him to miss the first several months of the 2017-18 campaign, which he began on the Cleveland Cavaliers before being traded to the Lakers on Feb. 8.
The 29-year-old will become a free agent this summer, but there’s still a possibility he re-signs with L.A.: The Lakers “continue to hold an interest” in exploring a new contract with Thomas this summer, Wojnarowski reported Wednesday, citing league sources.
That interest, of course, will depend on whether L.A. can lure either LeBron James or Paul George in free agency. If the team lands either superstar — or both — Thomas is all but gone, as the Lakers wouldn’t have the cap room to pay him. But if James and George both play elsewhere, L.A. would have “significantly” more interest in bringing Thomas back on a one-year contract to maintain its cap flexibility, per Wojnarowski.
The Lakers’ mindset makes sense: Thomas’ stats in L.A. haven’t been eye-popping — 15.6 points and five assists per game off the bench behind Lonzo Ball — but the veteran guard has provided valuable leadership on a young squad and has the talent to produce big numbers if he’s fully healthy.