Two-time Los Angeles Lakers point guard, Isaiah Thomas, a 5’9″ veteran hailing from the University of Washington, has been conspicuously absent from the NBA scene for an entire season. This absence is primarily attributed to a debilitating hip injury he suffered during the Boston Celtics’ playoff run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017.
During the 2016-17 season, Thomas experienced the peak of his career. He made his second consecutive All-Star team with the Boston Celtics and earned All-NBA First Team honors. Furthermore, he emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate, boasting impressive statistics with an average of 28.9 points per game on shooting splits of .463/.379/.909, along with 5.9 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and 0.9 steals per night. Thomas played a pivotal role in leading Boston to a 53-29 record, securing the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. However, their championship aspirations were dashed when they fell to LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Finals.
Shortly after, LeBron James and Isaiah Thomas became teammates on two occasions. First, they joined forces during the subsequent season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, as part of the Kyrie Irving trade package. Unfortunately, Thomas’s performance had significantly declined, and his defensive weaknesses became even more pronounced. His tenure with the Cavaliers was followed by stints with various teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards, and New Orleans Pelicans from 2018 to 2021. Yet, he never quite regained his previous form.
In the 2021-22 season, heavily impacted by COVID-19 absences, Thomas briefly reunited with LeBron James and the Lakers on a 10-day hardship exception contract. However, he failed to secure a long-term deal with the team. During his four games with the Lakers in this second stint, Thomas averaged 9.3 points, but his shooting percentages dipped to .308/.227/.727, along with 2.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 0.5 blocks per game. He later played for the Dallas Mavericks before concluding the season with the Charlotte Hornets. Although he seemed to fit well with Charlotte, the team opted for a different direction in selecting a backup point guard for LaMelo Ball’s next season, leaving Thomas without a team.
Recently, Isaiah Thomas has taken to social media, where he posted a cryptic image of the Chinese flag. Many fans speculate that this post hints at a potential move overseas to join the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). The CBA has proven to be a promising post-NBA destination for players who believe their playing days are far from over, with notable names like Stephon Marbury, Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer, and Jimmer Fredette enjoying successful second acts in the league.