Veteran Kurt Thomas Signs with the Portland Trail Blazers

Aaron YoungContributor IIIDecember 11, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 26:  Kurt Thomas #40 of the Chicago Bulls reacts after he made a shot in the second half against the Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 26, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. 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 Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Amid a flood of rumors of massive trades involving two of the league's young superstars, the NBA's oldest active player is no longer a free agent.

Kurt Thomas, 39, negotiated a deal Sunday morning that will land him with the Portland Trail Blazers, his ninth team since he entered the league, and his fifth in as many years.

The contract's financial specifics were not disclosed, but Portland's interim General Manager Chad Buchanan stated that the length of the deal was two years. At the conclusion of the contract, the center will be 41 and near the top of the list of the oldest players to ever appear in an NBA game.

Thomas, a seasoned power forward/center who played college hoops at Texas-Christian, entered the league in 1995 with the Miami Heat. His most lasting and successful run began in the last lockout-shortened season with the New York Knicks. A perfect fit for Pat Riley's defensive-minded and gritty Knicks, Thomas was an integral piece for the 1999 Eastern Conference Champions. His stint in New York would end in 2005; thereafter, he established a reputation as one of the league's most valuable journeymen.

Last season, Thomas saw a sizable amount of playing time with the Eastern Conference runner-up Chicago Bulls. Appearing in 52 games, 37 of them as a starter, he averaged 4.1 points and 5.8 rebounds and shot a solid 51 percent from the field.

Despite his advanced age relative to other big men in the NBA, Kurt Thomas remains a respectable presence in the paint. Not only is the 6'9" veteran an astute defensive player, he is also known for his affinity to knock down mid-range jumpers and grab as many boards as he can get his hands on. Perhaps his most valuable asset, Thomas has long been regarded among the league's most tactful and wise players.

Along with serving as a dependable big man off the bench, Thomas will have the opportunity to counsel and support the long-ailing center Greg Oden, who since being drafted No. 1 by the Trail Blazers in 2007 has appeared in only 82 games. In Portland, Thomas' valued and veteran leadership will benefit not only Oden but the entire Trail Blazers roster, a team attempting to finally break through in the Western Conference.