Charlotte Bobcats forward Tyrus Thomas was told not to travel with the team for their current four-game road trip, according to a report from The Charlotte Observer. Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins said Thomas’ time would be better spent staying Charlotte to do rehabilitation work and individual workouts.
Thomas, the team’s second highest paid player was inactive for the 10th straight time, and has missed 12 games in a row.
Thomas is owed a little bit over $16 million through the 2015 season. The Bobcats signed him to a five-year, $40 million deal in 2010, after helping the Bobcats reach the playoffs in the 2010 season. Since then Thomas’ tenure as a Bobcat has been rough, and he’s now found himself out of the Mike Dunlap’s rotation.
It’s possible the Bobcats could use their amnesty provision on Thomas during the summer. The Bobcats would still owe Thomas the remainder of his salary, but it would not count against the cap. Amnestying Thomas could further clear payroll for the Bobcats, who are expected to have more than $20 million in cap space in the offseason.
With the Bobcats seeking improvement in the frontcourt, and Byron Mullens seeing the bulk of minutes at power forward, financially it doesn’t make sense for the Bobcats to keep Thomas in the fold. Last offseason the team reportedly shopped him to any team that would listen, but found no takers.
Drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2006, and Thomas traded to Chicago in exchange for LaMarcus Aldridge. In Chicago, Thomas showed flashes of being a big-time defensive impact player with his length, energy and freakish athleticism. Thomas though always struggled getting consistent playing time, reportedly had attitude problems and issues with head coaches. Thomas was traded to the Bobcats in 2010 for a future first round pick, Acie Law and Ronald Murray.
A team could certainly take a chance on Thomas if he goes through the amnesty waiver system, where he’ll come at a cheaper cost. Thomas turns 27 this summer and could be re-energized with a change of scenery.
In 2012, former Bobcat Boris Diaw was waived by the team. Diaw’s declining season numbers, conditioning problems, and effectiveness made many Bobcats fans believe he had nothing left in the tank. Diaw however was picked up by the San Antonio Spurs, and since then has returned to form as a roleplayer on a championship contender. Diaw’s overall efficiency is up and he’s been a big veteran piece for the Spurs.
While Thomas’ time in Charlotte may be coming to an end, it wouldn’t be surprising for another team to reap the benefits that the Bobcats and Bulls both saw in a short amount of time, as the Spurs have with Diaw.