Did the Chicago Bulls let one slip through their fingers?
Thomas turned heads at the Las Vegas Summer League earlier this year, where he was named to the All-Star team after averaging a double-double (11.4 ppg, 12.4 rpg) and leading the league in rebounding. He ran the floor well, showed a knack for being in the right place at the right time, and looked great playing alongside Jimmy Butler and rookie Marquis Teague.
Fans, including me, were impressed and excited, and began clamoring for the Bulls to give Thomas a shot at making the roster. Thomas, however, was looking for a guaranteed deal, which the Bulls were unwilling - or perhaps unable - to offer.
Maybe the Bulls knew what they were doing. The Lakers and Spurs took looks and passed on Thomas last season after an impressive D-League showing, and he also worked out for the Bobcats, Knicks and Heat this offseason. For whatever reason, he didn't stick with the Lakers or Spurs, and didn't get any guaranteed offers this off-season.
Electra head coach David Blatt, however, sounded pleased to have Thomas on his team.
"Malcolm is…very athletic, fast and plays above the rim (and is) very good at offensive rebounding," Blatt said in the team's press release, which detailed Thomas' contract as a one-year deal with a team option for a second.
I'm no big league scout and don't have access to all the inside info, but I have to agree with Blatt. Thomas is indeed athletic and fast, and like Blatt said, he plays above the rim. I wanted the Bulls to give him a chance - frankly, I'd rather see them roll the dice on a young, up-and-coming player with potential rather than washed up stiffs like Nzar Mohammed and Vladimir Radmanovic.
So did the Bulls miss an opportunity with Thomas? Only time will tell.Sources: Malcolm Thomas Reaches Agreement With Maccabi Tel Aviv, RealGM.com; Is Heat-spurned Malcolm Thomas the answer for Maccabi?, BallInEurope.com
YCN featured sports contributor Steve Merritt is - for better or worse - a lifelong Chicago Bulls, Bears and Cubs fan. He's followed the Bulls since 1969, when he began tuning in after bedtime on a cheap dime store radio tucked under his pillow. Follow the 2012-13 Chicago Bulls season from A Fan's View on Facebook.
Other Chicago Bulls articles by Steve:Chicago Bulls Have Plenty of Question Marks: A Fan's View (October 1)
Build Your Own All-Chicago Bulls News Network: A Fan's View (September 30)
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