The 2017-18 season wasn’t kind to Isaiah Thomas.
It started with the Boston Celtics trading him to the Cleveland Cavaliers the summer beforehand. But hip surgery kept him sidelined for more than half the season. When he did start playing, things didn’t go well and the Cavaliers sent him to the Los Angeles Lakers after just 15 games.
His 17 games in L.A. went a little better, but only a little. After averaging 28.9 points the year before, last season looked like a disaster. He shot 37.9 percent from long range while finishing with an effective field goal rate of 54.6 percent. This past season didn’t measure up in any way. Thomas put up 15.2 points on an effective field goal rating of 43.8 percent. He shot 29.3 percent from long range, a career-low.
Thankfully, he’s getting another chance. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Denver Nuggets are giving IT a one-year deal at the veteran’s minimum ($2 million).
“Free agent guard Isaiah Thomas has agreed to a one-year deal with the Denver Nuggets, league sources tell ESPN. Thomas will reunite with Michael Malone, who coached him with the Kings.”
Thomas, still just 29 years old, is a two-time All-Star. He was an MVP candidate the season before last. But hip injuries are no joke, and it’s clear he wasn’t the same after surgery. After his MVP-caliber season with the Celtics, he looked destined for a big-money long-term contract. Injuries are cruel.
For the Nuggets, this is as low-risk as it gets. If IT can stay healthy and contribute a little more than he did last season, the Nuggets as currently constructed probably sneak into the playoffs. If not, they’re out $2 million. But Thomas was once a very special player, and we all know it wasn’t that long ago. If he stays healthy and produces, he’s going to get the multi-year contract he deserves.