I'm just going to come out and say it, I am not a big fan of Tyrus Thomas, and I have no reason to be. He has done nothing for the Charlotte Bobcats except weigh them down with his poor attitude and his outrageously expensive contract.
A contract that, while he should not be held accountable for receiving, he should be held accountable for not trying to earn it.
Thomas has underachieved massively since signing the absurd five-year, $40 million contract.
He showed excellent signs of potential in the two previous seasons, but this past year he was just excruciatingly bad. He only averaged 5.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.6 APG, and 1.1 BPG in 18.8 MPG.
The Bobcats are paying $8 million a year to someone who plays in under 19 minutes per game on the worst team in basketball.
That is an issue, but is one that can be erased with the amnesty clause. With it, the Bobcats would still owe Thomas his $40 million, but his yearly salary would not take up any cap space. It is a move that would free up even more room to try to extend certain players, lure free agents in, and make trades and extensions.
But should the Bobcats use their one and only amnesty clause on Thomas?
If you've been keeping score with my articles and comments (and I don't expect many of you have), I say yes, but there is this nagging, screaming voice in the back of my head saying, "no idiot, keep him at least one more year, that money won't be spent anyway".
Which is true. The Bobcats have the cap space they need this off-season to make the moves they want to and are capable of making, namely bringing in Antawn Jamison. This is a move that the Bobcats should make, and it should be considered a failure if he is not brought in by this staff.
So, what I'm saying is, we're giving the man his money regardless, and we're not likely to use the cap room anyway, why not let the Tyrus Thomas experiment play out for one more year?
His woes last season could have been caused by any number of issues—little developed talent around him, lack of chemistry with the coach (which is obvious when they physically fought each other), or just plain angst for being apart of what was the worst team in the history of the NBA.
But it's important to remember that the potential for Thomas is still there—yes, he's been a massive disappointment, yes he's been viewed as lazy and as a player with a poor personality, and yes, watching him play is often painful.
But there is a reason the Bobcats signed him to this contract, and there is a reason he was picked fourth overall in the 2006 NBA Draft. It's because he has absolutely game-changing, superstar potential and build that just isn't being utilized right now.
The Bobcats lack a whole lot of valuable size on their current roster. Never mind the fact that they have two seven-foot players, one (Byron Mullens) plays like a small forward, and the other (DeSegana Diop) plays like a doughnut.
If they manage to convince Jamison that playing near his family and helping to develop his hometown team is a good idea, they'll likely start him at PF and move Bismack Biyombo to center, a position he has the length and defensive capabilities to play.
But there is still room for the 6'9" Thomas on the Bobcats roster, and maybe he'll fit in better with this team than he did last year. Maybe playing behind one of the best forwards ever in Antawn Jamison and learning from him, while being pushed both by incoming rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and rising sophomore Kemba Walker, maybe one more year is worth it to see if he can develop into the player the Bobcats saw when they signed him to the cringe-worthy deal.
A friend and I were talking about how much the NBA relies on potential when making contracts, and how often that bites teams in the butt. As of right now, Tyrus Thomas is one of the biggest draft and contract busts in the NBA.
But maybe he can turn it around this year and be the player everyone thought he was going to be.
And because of that, I formally reverse my opinion to amnesty him—at least for one more year.