It has been a tumultuous [VIDEO] season for Isaiah Thomas. Starting the first half of the season on injured reserve while he rehabbed from hip surgery, it was given that he would be physically limited this year.

When he was finally able to return to the court, he did so amidst a mountain of disarray in Cleveland. The team was losing, players were fighting with each other and Lebron James was completely checked out on the whole situation.

It couldn't have been a harder landing spot for Thomas as he quickly became a scapegoat for many of the team's failings upon his return. Somehow, he was the reason nobody played defense or listened to what coach Tyronn Lue was saying.

All of the sudden, he was shipped out of town in a flurry of trades. He went from the Eastern Conference Finals last season with Boston [VIDEO], to now a Los Angeles Lakers team that was rebuilding and had no realistic shot at making the playoffs.

A fresh start

Many expected Thomas to be disgruntled with the whole situation. This, after all, was supposed to be his season to build off of last year's MVP caliber performance and earn himself a max contract this summer. That idea is out of the window now as his injury history and age are catching up to him.

Instead, Thomas has been a great team player and a valuable mentor to the young Lakers stars, especially Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. Though Thomas would prefer to start, he has accepted his role coming off of the bench and has gelled nicely with the young core that the team is building.

So much so that head coach Luke Walton has publicly said he wants Thomas to return to Los Angeles next year.

Will he return?

This is where it gets tricky. Thomas does seem to have found a nice home for this point of his career with the Lakers. It will be interesting to see how much they can offer him in free agency though. If another team wants to take the risk and offer a max contract, Thomas will no doubt take it.

The other issue is the recent maneuvering done by the Lakers front office. They have strategically given themselves the opportunity to sign two max free agents this summer. The popular opinion is that those contracts are earmarked for Lebron James and Paul George, though neither player has fully committed to leaving their current teams.

If the Lakers strike out on their plan A, Thomas could be in line to make the kind of money he wants, but on a shorter deal. It's not an awful plan B for Los Angeles either as they have seen the value Thomas has brought to helping their young team mature.