With the Charlotte Bobcats using the Amnesty Clause on Tyrus Thomas, an interesting option for quite a few teams to fill their big man needs suddenly became available, as the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and the New Orleans Pelicans are all rumored to show some interest in the player.
For most of his career, Thomas has been known as the player the Bulls thought was worth giving up on LaMarcus Aldridge for. Apparently, a good NCAA tournament after only one season with LSU isn’t a good way to gauge a player’s talent, and athleticism and length aren’t enough when the attitude isn’t there.
Thomas stayed three seasons with the Bulls, showing slow development signs, but in the middle of his fourth season, he was traded to the Charlotte Bobcats, helping the team make the postseason for the first (and only) time in franchise history as a backup center. That helped him get a $40 million, 5-year deal, despite his limited offensive skills and constant clashes with his head coaches.
Over the last couple of seasons, with Paul Silas and Mike Dunlap, things didn’t get better, and Thomas played only 26 games last season, averaging only 13.8 minutes and 4.8 points. There have been injuries, but his role with the team, even on one that is devoid of talent as the Bobcats, was almost entirely erased.
Thomas is a chance, but now that he’s getting paid by the Bobcats anyway ($18 million for the next couple of seasons) and in a situation in which he needs to save his NBA career, getting a player like Thomas to be a backup big man, mostly as a power forward, for a minimum or close to that deal is quite a bargain and probably worth the risk.
The Rockets, regardless of their moves in free agency, need a backup in the frontcourt, and while Thomas won’t bring too many points, his per-minute numbers have remained the same throughout his career until the last couple of seasons, and it means good rebounding and rim protecting.
The Pelicans, now that they’ve given up on Robin Lopez, even with Jeff Withey coming instead, need more depth in their frontcourt, and both the Dallas Mavericks and the Atlanta Hawks barely have any players signed till next season, and will probably start fattening their rosters once Dwight Howard makes up his mind. Thomas, despite his behavior problems, still deserves a shot in this league.