It’s no doubt that the Bulls are shopping disgruntled power forward Tyrus Thomas. He's been ridiculed ever since he was drafted fourth overall by the Portland Trail Blazers and then traded along with Viktor Khryapa to the Bulls for second overall pick LaMarcus Aldridge.
Thomas, although he is only 23-years-old, seems to have worn out his welcome in Chicago as numerous incidents involving his poor attitude have marred his short career. Now, none of these personal blow-ups seemed to be anything too detrimental to the team, but his 7.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game over his career have been.
Always seen as a statue of athleticism, Thomas was thought of as a raw talent coming out of LSU, after all he was only 19 went he was drafted. However, his game hasn’t developed since entering the league and many point to his lack of motivation and his ego as reasons why he hasn’t panned out.
His lack of production (along with his recent tirades involving rookie Taj Gibson earning his starting spot while nursing a broken arm) has the Bulls looking to get Thomas out of Chicago.
The following are five realistic scenarios that stem from teams that have shown interest in Tyrus, or trade rumors that have been circulating the internet.
Portland has definitely shown some interest in Thomas, and Outlaw is an expiring contract (what the Bulls are looking for more than talent).
With injuries to centers Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla haunting the Blazers, they are ultimately looking for more of a defensive presence to join the aforementioned Aldridge on the block.
More than likely Thomas would get his gift of a starting spot, Portland would get their low-post defensive presence, and the Bulls would get an expiring contract (and won’t have to worry about Tyrus’ $6+ million qualifying offer after this season).
Steve Blake could be another name that could interest the Bulls as he’s another expiring contract, but to replace Outlaw in this trade the Bulls would have to get rid of Kirk Hinrich first to avoid a logjam at the guard position.
Either deal (Blake or Outlaw) would probably have to be sweetened with draft picks being exchanged too, but either way the Bulls will ultimately lower their payroll in anticipation for the 2010 free agent class.
Joining a trend of salary dumping (which is reportedly what the Bulls want in any deal), the Bulls would acquire two guards who shouldn’t see much playing time on any NBA team (which explains the lack of interest from suddenly upstart Charlotte).
This deal would give the Bulls a plethora of guards, but with the contracts of Law and Murray both expiring at the end of this season, the team would sacrifice it for the dollar signs.
As for Charlotte, they’d get Thomas (whom they’ve shown interest in) to team up with All-Star Gerald Wallace and former Bull Tyson Chandler to form a solid, young core that still has quite a bit of experience in the league.
By letting go of an expiring contract (James), the Bulls would take on another (Harrington) while securing some financial freedom while once again getting rid of Thomas’ qualifying offer for next season.
Harrington definitely has a much higher skill set than anyone in the two previous trades, but also has an attitude much like Thomas. However, the Bulls probably won’t be too concerned since his $10 million contract will be coming off the books at the end of this season.
Also, the Bulls would be getting much more of an offensive threat in Harrington, who has averaged double digit points in almost every one of his seasons since joining the NBA in 1998.
He would definitely get more playing time than Acie Law or Travis Outlaw, but either way the Bulls aren’t worried about this season as much as this offseason.
The San Antonio Spurs have expressed interest in Tyrus, probably because of his defensive ability (a Gregg Popovich staple).
However, this deal would be pretty sweet for the Bulls. Not only would they dump John Salmons (and his $5.8 million player option for next season) but they’d also drastically improve their three-point shooting (Mason, Finley, and Bonner all three hover around 40 percent shooting from behind the arc on their careers), something that’s plagued the team all season.
Not only could this deal help improve the Bulls this season, all three contracts the team would be getting from the Spurs are expiring at the end of this season. Couple that with Thomas and Salmons’s contracts that will more than likely stick around next season and the Bulls would be dropping some serious cash come the offseason.
In this dream-trade scenario, the Bulls would be helping themselves out for the present and the future.
It's well known that the Celtics have shown interest in both Hinrich and Thomas and are willing to deal the aging Ray Allen for some more athleticism. Hinrich would be a solid backup point guard for All-Star Rajon Rondo, or at least more of a true point guard than current backup Eddie House. They'd also be getting much more athletic with Tyrus Thomas who could fit into Doc Rivers' defensive scheme.
The Bulls on the other hand would be getting a pure shooter in Ray Allen. Both of the Allen's have expiring contracts while Hinrich, Salmons, and Thomas will more than likely be on the books for next season.
In all, this move could be golden for the Bulls, losing a couple of headaches (Thomas' attitude and Salmons' player option) and open up about $22 million in payroll for next season.
And who knows, if they're able to land a big free agent could Ray Allen take a pay cut (since he's on his way out anyways) and come back to try to win one more championship before retiring?
Again this would pretty much be a dream in most Bulls fan's hearts, but it's not an unrealistic move by any means.
While the Bulls are willing to listen to most any expiring contract deals just to get rid of Tyrus, these seem to be the most likely destinations for the troubled forward. While Ray Allen may be the only big name on the list, don't expect teams to be throwing away big name expiring contracts on Thomas.
His current value is the lowest of his career, especially since the Bulls have made it clear that they want to get rid of him.
For me, any trade involving both Salmons and Thomas getting the boot will benefit the team, at least for 2011.