Let’s not get NBA Hall-of-Famer and former New York Knicks head coach and President of Basketball Operations Isiah Thomas confused here with current Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas. We know the former isn’t going to fix the Knicks, but how about the latter?
The Kings are just as bad as the Knicks this season, but no one expected the Kings to be good. No one expected Isaiah Thomas to turn into the player he has in his third season in the league either, considering he was selected with the very last pick in the 2011 draft. However, Thomas is averaging 20.4 points per game this season with 6.4 assists per game. He has also contributed 1.4 steals per game with very impressive shooting numbers across the board: 44.9 percent field goal percentage, 37.2 three-point percentage (1.9 threes per game) and 85.8 free-throw percentage (4.8 FT’s per game). His player efficiency rating is six points above league average at a clean 21.0.
Thomas is making just $884,293 in salary this season and is set to become a restricted free agent this offseason. What this means is he is going to get paid. The Kings can match any offer made to Thomas by any team, but how high will they go to keep Thomas in California’s capital city? The Knicks are in desperate need of a point guard, and if they can clear enough room on their books, they could make a big offer for the 25-year-old.
First and foremost, any chance the Knicks have of being involved in free agency this offseason will mean Carmelo Anthony has left the team. After Anthony, the Knicks have $50 million invested into Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani, each of whom are in their final year of their contracts. The Knicks have another $16 million plus invested into five other players all on the books for next season. So even if Anthony leaves, the Knicks have at least $66 million in salaries next season which would put them about $6 million over the expected cap.
With Raymond Felton‘s status up in the air and a potential hefty prison sentence looming, the Knicks may be able to shed his $4.36 million salary. And as previously mentioned, trading Chandler may be the wisest thing the Knicks could do for their future. His $14.6 million salary for next season could easily be moved to a team with available cap room. That would leave the Knicks with about $12 million in cap space. While it would be a hefty offer for Thomas, a multiyear deal starting in the $8-$12 million range could force the Kings to let him walk.
A lot hinges on this even being a possibility, but the Knicks need a point guard and Thomas may be a future All-Star. His name may give Knicks fans a bad feeling in their stomach at first, but it likely wouldn’t take long before they started rallying behind the diminutive point guard.