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Isaiah Thomas Has Only Made $11 Million After The Boston Celtics Didn't Offer Him A 5-Year, $200 Million Deal In 2017


The NBA offseason is a rollercoaster like no other. Not only are teams busy signing free agents, but contending teams often try to get better and build around their superstars. While strengthening a team is no crime, it comes at the cost of some other player on the roster.

Perhaps one of the harshest examples of this is that of Isaiah Thomas. To many, Thomas might not be a star name as he is not even a regular in the NBA right now, but 5 years ago, the name Isaiah Thomas was on everyone's lips in TD Garden. A 5'9" guard, IT was a talented star who had made a name for himself with his impressive scoring numbers.

Ever since his move to the Boston Celtics, Thomas showed the NBA why he deserved a starting point guard spot and was the star man in the Celtics. But perhaps his best season as a pro came in the 2016-17 season. Playing for the Celtics, IT averaged an insane 28.9 points, 5.9 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game, which was his career high as well.

Unsurprisingly, Thomas was also an MVP candidate for the season and narrowly missed out on the trophy to Russell Westbrook, who averaged a triple-double for the whole season. What is surprising, though, is that the 2-time All-Star was only earning $6.5 million for such an incredible season.

He left his mark in the postseason as well, leading the Celtics all the way to the Conference Finals. Against the Cavaliers, Thomas had a decent start, but midway through Game 3, IT was ruled out of the game and ultimately the series after suffering a hip injury. While the injury did not seem like a big deal, it would derail the guard's career altogether. 

After a career year like Thomas had, any player would imagine that the team would offer him a handsome contract extension, and for IT, he was eligible to sign a max contract of 5 years worth a whopping $200 million. But as fate would turn out, the Celtics never had faith in him and traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers to bring in Kyrie Irving.

What could have been a hefty payday turned out to be a disaster as Thomas became a journeyman, and his hip injury all this while deteriorated. After that 2017 offseason, Isaiah Thomas has gone on to earn only $11 million and is not even on an NBA team right now. 

In 2017, after the Cavaliers retained the guard, IT earned $6.2 million. Because of his injury woes, though, the numbers kept falling, and Thomas has earned almost only $5 million. $2 million for a veteran contract with the Denver Nuggets, $2 million for a similar deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, and then signing 5 10-day contracts worth a total of almost $850 K.

This situation is almost a carbon copy of what former All-Star DeMarcus Cousins had to go through, who could have earned $209 million but ended up with a paycheck of $12 million in the last 4-years.

These situations go on to show that as much as NBA fans are swayed away with narratives of loyalty, the NBA indeed is a business. At the end of the day, all of these organizations are looking to make the deal that is best for the business.

**Credit for idea: u/yougotmugged**