There have been some wacky deals so far in the NBA offseason. Jodie Meeks for $19 million over three years. Ben Gordon for $9 million over two years. Channing Frye for $32 million over four years. Jordan Hill for $18 million over two years. But no single deal raised as big of a ‘WTF’ than the Kings agreeing to let Isaiah Thomas leave for a paltry amount of $27 million over four years. That’s less than Frye and only marginally ahead of Darren Collison‘s deal with Sacramento. Someone in Sacramento just didn’t care for Thomas as a starting point guard, no matter how productive he was.
Thomas was a restricted free agent, but will go to the Phoenix Suns on a sign and trade deal. Sacramento will receive a $7 million trade exception as well as the draft rights to 2013 draft pick, Alex Oriakhi.
Thomas was a fantasy stud last season, catapulting himself into the top 35 after being drafted outside the top 100, manly due to the fact that the Kings had brought in Greivis Vasquez in the offseason to take his job. Thomas, along with Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins were the few bright spots on the Kings roster, but someone in the organisation obviously doesn’t believe in Thomas.
Last season’s was Thomas’ best season, putting up career highs in scoring, rebounds, assists and steals.
Great, great numbers from Thomas, and by looking at those numbers, it befuddles the mind to think why the Kings would think that a guy in his third season would be considered expendable with form like this. I guess that’s why they’re the Kings.
Early reports out of Phoenix are that Thomas will be the sixth man and they will run with a lot of three-guard lineups. Along with starters Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, the Suns also have Ish Smith, Archie Goodwin and Tyler Ennis on their roster. Because of this situation, I’ve dropped Thomas’ projected minutes down to 30, but he will definitely be a huge part of their rotation.
There is also the uncertainty surrounding Bledsoe. Like Thomas, Bledsoe is a restricted free agent and hasn’t received an offer sheet from another team yet, nor has he negotiated a new deal with Phoenix. Could this Thomas move be a precursor for Bledsoe leaving town? It’s possible, but I wouldn’t count on it and I think we’ll see the Suns running Dragic, Bledsoe and Thomas out on the court a lot together.
So, will the drop in minutes affect his fantasy stock? A little, but not as much as you think. If Thomas is able to achieve the projections I have set out for him below, I’d be looking to grab him in the top 50.
A slight drop off, but nothing too much. Maybe I’m being a little bullish on what Thomas can do in this new role, but I wouldn’t be shying away from him. Don’t be like the Kings and show some belief in the little man that could.