On Tuesday we detailed the Charlotte Bobcats' considerations behind their number two overall pick. Namely, if no real front-runner emerged that could turn the team around by his lonesome — a likely scenario — that the Bobcats would attempt to trade down in an attempt to gain assets to add to a rebuilding team that turned in the worst winning percentage in NBA history in 2011-12. Flush with their first advantage — a coveted pick — in months, the Bobcats are getting a little greedy. Hilariously, this means they're trying to package forward Tyrus Thomas with the pick as a possible prerequisite in any deal, according to the Washington Post.
This is complicated and unlikely for several reasons, though you can't blame Bobcats GM Rich Cho for trying. The Bobcats appear to be counting down the hours until they can use the amnesty clause on the underachieving forward for the final three years and $26 million on the deal he signed with Charlotte in 2010. If Tyrus is traded to another team, though, the ability to use that clause doesn't roll over to the new franchise. And, considering Thomas' history, they would be taking in one of the crummier contracts in the NBA for a pick that will not be used to take Anthony Davis in Thursday's draft.
The fact that a player who is not yet 26 and making a salary not far removed from the mid-level exception owns one of the worst contracts in the NBA is a deadening thought. Tyrus Thomas has nobody to blame but himself for not only failing to act upon his significant potential after entering the NBA in 2006, but falling backward on even the limited advancements he's made in the years since during 2011-12. He was awful, and a destructive force in the locker room, and nobody was amused.
The rest of the league, as the Washington Post's Michael Lee points out, is probably slightly amused at Charlotte's attempts; but the Bobcats have to try something, right? Here's Lee's findings:
According to multiple sources, the Bobcats are trying to convince teams interested in the second pick to also take back disappointing power forward Tyrus Thomas, who has more than $26 million remaining on his contract. Thomas is coming off the worst season since his rookie year as he averaged just 5.6 points and 3.7 rebounds. When asked if teams would be willing to touch Thomas, one Western Conference executive said, "I don't think so."
Trading Thomas and using the amnesty on someone else is almost too much of a whitewash for Charlotte. The team would then use the provision on center DaSagana Diop and his player option for over $7 million in 2012-13, and badly struggle to meet the NBA's minimum salary requirements. Even if the Bobcats hold serve and keep the second pick in the draft, while holding on to both Tyrus and Diop (no amnesty needed!) the team would be right at the low floor of the NBA's salary cap. Dumping Thomas and Diop takes even less payroll away, and the team would be struggling to secure free agents in a seller's market to play for the Worst Team Ever.
So a Thomas deal wouldn't be the worst move, but it's a rather unlikely one.
And as a result, Tyrus probably stays through the draft, and then goes under the amnesty provision. Which, again, is a shame. Because Thomas actually led the NBA in Defensive Rating as a rookie. And though we put the bulk of his struggles as a pro on his underachieving ways, the Chicago Bulls (who traded for him in the 2006 NBA draft) did him no favors by pairing him with Scott Skiles early in his career. Skiles is the sort of coach that expects players to figure it out on their own, and that just doesn't tend to work in a league that goes 450 deep. Thomas never added to his game, Skiles was gone a year and a half after Tyrus was drafted, and the similarly styled replacement in Jim Boylan wasted another half a year of Thomas' potential development after that.
Then two years of Vinny Del Negro hit, and it was just about all over but the shouting. Or, in Thomas' case, being shoved up against the wall by his eventual coach in Charlotte: Paul Silas.
You appear to have taken quite the mess on in Charlotte, Rich Cho. Have fun with it like we are with this trade rumor.