Free Agency 2010: Chicago Bulls Add Veteran Big Man Kurt Thomas

Michael Gibbons@DachicagofanCorrespondent IIJuly 23, 2010

ATLANTA - MAY 2:  Forward Kurt Thomas #40 of the Milwaukee Bucks takes a break on the court during Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 2, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Sooner or later, the Bulls were going to sign someone over the age of 30. After adding Carlos Boozer, 28, Kyle Korver, 29, Ronnie Brewer, 25, C.J. Watson, 26, and Omer Asik, 24, the Chicago Bulls signed veteran big man Kurt Thomas, who will be 38 this October, on Thursday to a one-year deal worth a little bit more then the veteran minimum.

You may remember I listed Thomas as a possible guy who might be willing to sign for the minimum a few weeks back when it looked liked da Bulls would be signing two of the "Big Three."

Thomas will be asked to fill the enforcer role on this team and replace the departed Brad Miller, who recently signed with the Houston Rockets for three years and $15 million. With the addition of Thomas, the Bulls have filled out a solid five-man rotation with the new additions of Boozer, Asik, and Thomas to go along with Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah.

Thomas will provide insurance in case Omer Asik isn't ready to fill the backup center role.

Interestingly enough, Thomas was supposed to join the Bulls back in February as part of the trade that sent John Salmons to the Milwaukee Bucks. 

Thomas has averaged 8.8 points and seven rebounds a game for his career and should provide a needed toughness and hard-nosed defense that this team will need come playoff time. He had a career year in 2004-2005 when he averaged a double-double (11.4 points and 10.4 rebounds) for the New York Knicks. Besides playing for the Knicks and Bucks, he also spent some time in Miami, Dallas, Phoenix, Seattle, and two stints with the Spurs.

This leaves the Bulls with 11 players, two short of the minimum of 13, under contract. I would expect the Bulls to look for another wing player who could score, possibly Tracy McGrady, maybe look to re-sign Jannero Pargo or Flip Murray, or perhaps find a third point guard and another big. I would expect the Bulls to keep only 13 players on the roster if they are close to the luxury tax, but if they have some room they may bring in a couple of cheap guys to fill out the 14 and 15 spots.

Just a little over 3 months till opening night.

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