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Isaiah Thomas Will Look To Jump-Start Career After Wild Year

by Jordan Dajani
by Jordan Dajani

ESPN NBA analyst Adrian Wojnarowski is known for what fans call, “Woj bombs.” These are just small tweets which encompass breaking news, but they can come at any time of day or night and sometimes they come back-to-back-to-back.

A flurry of these “Woj bombs” were dropped early Friday morning. Jeremy Lin was traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Atlanta Hawks and the Denver Nuggets sent Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur along with the some draft picks to the Nets for Isaiah Whitehead.

The “bomb” that started this late-night barrage was the one that was the most interesting however.

The part of this story that really surprised me were the contract details. He had signed a one-year deal at the veteran's minimum.

That's right, you read that correctly, he will be one of the lowest paid players on the team.

It's wild to think back on the journey Thomas has been on in the last year. He was traded twice, struggled with several injuries and hasn't come close to looking like the IT4 we all fell in love with in 2017.

In the 2016-17 season, Thomas averaged 28.9 points per game and was named to the All-NBA second team. He was the clear leader of the Celtics and it seemed as if he was going to land a max contract, but after tearing his labrum, which required significant rehab, he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

by For The Win- USA TODAY
by For The Win- USA TODAY

Due to injury setbacks, Thomas only played in 15 games with the Cavaliers and averaged under 15 points per game, half of what he was averaging during his last season in Boston.

There were questions about his attitude and his ability to coexist with LeBron James on the floor, and he ended up being traded, along with half of the team, at the deadline to the Los Angeles Lakers.

by Instagram: @isaiahthomas
by Instagram: @isaiahthomas

The Lakers chapter wasn't a horrible one for Thomas. Even though he came off the bench for 16 of his 17 games in Los Angeles, he averaged 15.6 points and five assists per game.

Thomas actually found some stability with the Lakers, scoring 20 or more points in six games, something he had only done twice in Cleveland.

Everyone knew, including Thomas, that chances were slim he would be wearing the purple and gold next season. His contract was expiring and the Lakers had their eye on acquiring more cap space.

That's what was depressing for Thomas during his time as a Laker, the future was unclear.

Who would want him, and how much money would he be offered?

Thomas was a rising star that fell very hard and very quickly, and the worst part is that he didn't deserve any of it.

On Thursday, Thomas used his Instagram to remind people that he's still capable of NBA stardom and that he hasn't lost any confidence over the past year.

by Instagram: @isaiahthomas
by Instagram: @isaiahthomas
by Instagram: @isaiahthomas
by Instagram: @isaiahthomas

It has to be a humbling experience to go through what Thomas has had to over the past year. From expecting a $100 million contract to having to accept the veteran minimum, that's a tough pill to swallow.

It's a one-year deal however, so Thomas can hope to play himself into a better contract in 2019, but it's hard to imagine him playing well enough to command a max contract at 30 years old.

Either way, Thomas has a chance to jump-start his career in Denver, and if he can stay healthy, I think that he has a good chance of accomplishing that.

He showed in some of his games as a Laker that he can still score at an elite level when given the chance. Thomas will be extremely focused in 2019, because once again, he has a chance to play himself into a decent contract the following year.

Keep your eyes peeled for the return of IT4.

This article was originally published on @jdajani