However, by reuniting with head coach Mike Malone, the 29-year-old will have an opportunity to prove his hip injury is a thing of the past and can become a free agent once again following the 2018-19 National Basketball Association season. With the Cavaliers struggling, however, they dealt Thomas, Channing Frye and a 2018 first-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers on February 8 for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. But a torn labrum that cost him eight months of rehab, and a trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer, upended his hopes for that kind of a long-term deal.
During the 2016-17 season Thomas was third in the league with 28.9 points per game and he earned second team All-NBA honors after helping to guide the Celtics to the best record in the East at 53-29.
Thomas also struggled in Los Angeles, and eventually had surgery to fix the hip issue. The Celtics reached the Eastern Conference Finals that year but a hip injury kept Thomas sidelined as LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and the Cavs advanced to the NBA Finals. Thomas nearly exclusively came off the bench, scoring 15.6 points per game in 17 games with the Lakers.
In 17 games, including just one start, for Los Angeles, Thomas averaged 15.6 points and five assists. Brooklyn, meanwhile, continues to slowly restock its cache of draft picks after recovering from the ill-fated trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce with Boston in 2013.