Notice a pattern?
Those are, in chronological order, the minutes per game for Tyrus Thomas during his four seasons with the Bobcats. Still just 26 years old, Thomas has faded into near-obscurity. He averaged career lows in points (4.8) and rebounds (2.3) per game this season, but the lowest point came when Charlotte just told him not to accompany the team on a March road trip.
Thomas’ malaise was a combination of clashes with coaches, injuries an overbearing inability to live up to a contract that will still pay him $8,694,215 and $9,388,430 the next two seasons.
But that cap hit will no longer burden the Bobcats, who must clear room for Al Jefferson to sign. David Aldridge of NBA.com:
Although the Bobcats will still have to pay Thomas, his longer legacy might be the first-round draft pick they still owe the Bulls from the trade that brought him to Charlotte. It’s top-10 protected next year, top-eight protected in 2015 and unprotected in 2016. The way the Bobcats are going, they very well could end up losing a very valuable pick just so they had the inside track to overpay Thomas.
One team’s mistake could turn into another’s treasure, though. Someone should bid on Thomas, who as I mentioned, is still just 26. His athleticism and shot-blocking skills give him defensive potential, but whether he figures everything out remains a huge question.
I say he’s worth the risk – just not at anywhere near the salary the Bobcats gave him, which is why he’s available.