The Bulls might not want Tyrus Thomas anymore…but almost everybody else does. At least that’s how it seems. And thanks to the way Thomas recently freaked out on Vinny Del Negro — not to mention how he claimed to have no regrets about freaking out — potential trade partners are crawling from under rocks and out of dark corners. Hey, who doesn’t love a high-potential, under-performing, emotionally volatile project? Am I right?
According to Adrian Wajnarowski of Yahoo! Sports: “Everyone understood Chicago executives are now determined to move Thomas, and a clear price has been established for suitors: Expiring contracts and a future first-round draft pick, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. The Bulls are also exploring ways to package Thomas with guard Kirk Hinrich to free themselves of his contract.”
Wajnarowski continued: “Bulls management is telling teams they expect to take the bidding right to the Feb. 18 deadline. The Bulls want to avoid the possibility of Thomas accepting a $6.2 million qualifying offer on the eve of this summer’s free agency, which would deliver a major dent to their salary-cap space. Thomas, 23, will be a restricted free agent this summer.”
Chicago’s end-game is clear: Add a superstar — Dwyane Wade? Chris Bosh? Amar’e Stoudemire? — and another star or semi-star next summer. Oh, and a blue-chip draftee wouldn’t hurt, either. And players who aren’t part of that solution are part of the problem. Even if they don’t scream at the coach. (Sorry, Kirk. That’s just the way it is. It doesn’t mean we don’t love you. Or at least like you. Or at the very worst tolerate you.)
Here are some possible trade buddies who may be in the running for Chicago’s enigmatic big man:
That grunting and panting you hear is Danny Ainge trying desperately to hold the Celtics championship window open a little longer. Plus, if Ainge wants to get anything out of Ray Allen’s expiring contract, this is the time to do it. We could see Thomas and Hinrich included in a deal with Boston.
Apparently, the Bobcats have offered Acie Law, Flip Murray and their 2010 first-round pick for Thomas. The Law / Murray combo represents over $4 million in expiring contracts, plus it would keep Thomas from accepting that $6.2 million qualifying offer. That’s $10 million in cap savings and a draft pick. Don’t we owe it to Michael Jordan to take his team’s money?
The Nuggets want a big man to bolster their playoff odds against the Lakers and their monster frontcourt. However, their roster situation doesn’t look very promising, trade-wise.
New Orleans Hornets:
They’re weak up front, and, as an added bonus, they’ve already traded with the Bulls once this season. That said, the Hornets are looking to cut costs, not take them on. And New Orleans is on the books for over $73 million next season.
New York Knicks:
The Knicks are trying to shift as many pieces as they can to lure LeBron James to New York this summer. But beware: They’re been looking to shed salary as much as anything else. Still, Al Harrington’s expiring contract might be an enticing offer…
Portland Trail Blazers:
The “Frail Blazers” lost both Greg Oden and Joel “The Vanilla Godzilla” Przybilla for the season. Those are their first and second string centers, by the way. Portland has been getting it done with Juwan Howard’s decaying corpse…but how long can that last? Also, teams have been scoring a lot of points in the paint against the Blazers. Thomas would provide depth up front and some interior defense.
It appears Portland “offered either Steve Blake or Travis Outlaw — both of whom have expiring contracts — and two future second-round draft picks for Thomas. The Bulls reportedly declined the deal, though, because they want more value in return.”
The Kings want size. They need it, really. And here’s an argument for Tyrus heading to Sacramento. Unprotected first round draft pick, anyone?
San Antonio Spurs:
The Spurs may be the only team that might be grunting and panting at their championship window more than the Celtics are at theirs. And no offense to Antonio McDyess, Matt Bonner and Theo Ratliff, but San Antonio needs some youth and athleticism in the frountcourt. At this point, McDyess and Ratliff are this closeto being legally declared “mummy” by leading mummy-ologists.