Tag: Tyrus Thomas

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets

NBA’s amnesty window open, here are three candidates to watch


The NBA’s amnesty window is open — from now until July 16, teams that haven’t used their one-time amnesty provision since the lockout can wipe one contract off the official books, so long as that is a contract they signed before the lockout.

Which means there are only 13 teams and 34 total players where they amnesty clause is in play. Most of those are not contracts the teams want to get rid of — Al Horford in Atlanta, Rajon Rondo in Boston, LeBron James in Miami, Tony Paker in San Antonio, Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City and so on.

For all the fanfare of the amnesty clause as a “get out of jail free” card, teams generally are cautious to use it. They have to pay the player anyway — amnesty a player and he comes off the official league books but the player still gets paid — so this has to just be a guy you want gone.

We know one amnesty is coming this year — Charlotte has already said they will amnesty Tyrus Thomas. Which makes sense, he completely fits the mold of a guy it was time to throw in the towel on.

Do not expect the Bulls to amnesty Carlos Boozer or the Thunder to use theirs on Kendrick Perkins. In the case of Oklahoma City, GM Sam Presti has said the organization doesn’t believe in the amnesty clause as useful — they are going to have to pay him anyway, they may as well get something for that. The Bulls might amnesty Boozer a year from now when they can open up a lot of cap room to chase free agents, but this year he stays as the Bulls try to make a run.

Here are three other guys to watch:

Metta World Peace, Los Angeles Lakers. This is obvious because it has already been out there that the Lakers are likely to send World Peace on his way. The Lakers could amnesty Kobe Bryant, but there is zero chance of that. They could amnesty Pau Gasol, but he has trade value if they want to move him. World Peace is the odd guy out and letting him go would save the Lakers in excess of $14 million (that number was much higher until Dwight Howard bolted and the Lakers payroll fell).

John Salmons, Sacramento Kings. Salmons is a nice wing player that the Kings oddly gave a large and long contract to. Now they have the just drafted Ben McLemore and they are reportedly in the hunt for Monta Ellis (Atlanta remains the front runner), so why have Salmons in the picture. Salmons is due $7.5 million in 2013-14, and $1 million guaranteed in 2014-15

Charlie Villanueva, Detroit Pistons. This was a bad contract the day it was signed — back then Villanueva had some value but there was no reason to ink a big multi-year deal. Joe Dumars had cap space and he was going to spend it, no matter what. This should be a no brainer. Villanueva is owed $8.58 million next season.

Bobcats to amnesty Tyrus Thomas

Utah Jazz v Charlotte Bobcats
  • 21.7
  • 21.0
  • 18.8
  • 13.8

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.

Report: Al Jefferson agrees to three-year deal with Bobcats

Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks

Al Jefferson was reportedly looking for a four-year deal worth in the neighborhood of $15 million per season in free agency.

He also was said to be interested in waiting for the Dwight Howard domino to fall before choosing his destination, in case a contender became interested in retaining his services.

As it turned out, neither of those things came to fruition.

From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:

The opt-out is the key point of the deal for Jefferson.

He reportedly spent a couple of days vetting the organization, and obviously decided that getting locked in now at a little under $14 million per season was a better idea than waiting around to see what the market would bear.

If the Bobcats continue to Bobcat, worst case scenario here is that Jefferson got two years of guaranteed money at close to his asking price. If Charlotte begins to show improvement under new head coach Steve Clifford, develops its young players like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker, and freshly drafted Cody Zeller, and makes some smart front office decisions, then Jefferson can stick it out and be an integral part of the franchise’s turnaround into relevance.

Jefferson is one of the most consistent offensive players in the game, and his level of production inside, along with his size is what makes him worthy of these types of dollars. He’s averaged at least 17.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in each of the last four seasons.

Only seven other players in the game match up to those numbers, and that list is fairly impressive.

David Aldridge of NBA.com reports that the Bobcats will use the amnesty provision on Tyrus Thomas to create the room to sign Jefferson.

Beno Udrih latest to pile on Scott Skiles coaching style

Milwaukee Bucks v Phoenix Suns

Not many players would have been happy being shipped from a playoff bound Milwaukee Bucks to an Orlando Magic team that got routed by the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night.

But such was the atmosphere with the Bucks under former coach Scott Skiles that Beno Udrih is happy with the trade.

And he wasn’t just saying it because he was supposed to, check out the quote from the Orlando Sentinel.

“It was just a bad situation there. I’m a professional and I’m a man, so I like to be told straight-up what they expect from me. So, in Milwaukee, that never happened. They were saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, we know. We’ve got to play you a little bit more.’ But it never happened. So when I did get into the game I didn’t know what they actually wanted to do, so I was just trying to find it myself, and I never did.”

“I wanted a change. I wanted a new start, so I’m really happy to be here. I know Jacque and J.B. [James Borrego], the assistant coach. It’s just a really exciting moment for me and my wife.”

In the NBA, it’s being an Xs and Os coach isn’t enough, everyone can do that. And if you’re Phil Jackson and it’s not your forte, you hire an assistant who is a master (hello Tex Winter). For NBA coaches it’s about ego management and getting guys to buy into and fully believe in their roles.

Skiles has never been good at it. Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie found this story and laid out the trends.

This is a problem you heard about in Skiles’ earlier turns in Phoenix and Chicago, and it’s not insignificant when paired with his clashes (or, to put it in nicer terms, “chilly relationships”) with his players. And who are these players? Tyrus Thomas. Eddy Curry. Beno Udrih. Jason Kidd and Brandon Jennings at times, among other lesser lights….

It’s the high potential players that Skiles has failed with. Witness Brandon Jennings’ stagnation since his rookie year. Look at the way Thomas, who worked his tail off during his rookie and second season only to be jerked in and out of the rotation and contests, seemed to give up on the game by his third year. Look at Tyson Chandler, who needed to get out of Chicago to stop looking over his shoulder and finally flourish.

It’s going to be interesting to see what direction the Bucks go this summer. Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick can all test the free agent market (the Bucks can match any offer to Jennings). The Bucks management needs to decide what kind of team they want to build and then find a coach to execute the plan. Right now they are a collection of players, they need more of an identity.

Monday And-1 Links: Should the Rockets send Jeremy Lin to the bench?

Miami Heat v Houston Rockets

Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• Should the Houston rockets bring Jeremy Lin off the bench? What has been clear so far this season is that when both he and James Harden are on the floor together both play worse, and Rob Mahoney at Sports Illustrated breaks all that down. He also suggests the benching of Lin. Bringing Lin off the bench is a short term fix, but at some point the Rockets need to figure out how to get the clicking together or make a move.

• Emeka Okafor, who played four years at UConn and still has a great fondness for the state, talks about the tragic shooting at Newtown and how he feels for those families. We all do.

• Jonathan Abrams with a brilliant profile of Chauncey Billups at Grantland.

• The Dallas Maverick’s streak of making a three pointer in a game ended at 1,108. Yes, that’s a record.

• George Karl is not going to miss any games as the coach of the Nuggets, but the cancer-survivor is thinking about taking steps to easy some of the travel grind the team goes through.

• A Q+A with Nikola Vucevic from SLAM.

• David West thinks the Pacers can make a run at it all in the East once they get Danny Granger back. We’ll see, if Paul George can keep playing at this level.

As I said on the PBT podcast, I really didn’t have a big issue with the fans voting on the All-Star starters so far. I do have one complaint — four guys got votes without ever stepping on the court: Andrew Bynum, Sixers (68,596), Amar’e Stoudemire, Knicks (64,266), Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks (63,056), and Ricky Rubio, Timberwolves (54,744). All those votes were cast before Rubio’s return over the weekend. I get the fans can and should vote for the players they want to see, it’s an exhibition. But shouldn’t the guy have played one game this season? Who is voting for these guys and why?

• Heat coach Erik Spoelstra talks about how well Carmelo Anthony is playing this season and how the Heat are not.

A case for trying the underhand free throw. Which there is no chance Dwight Howard would do.

• Watch Eddy Curry drain a clutch three in China. You know you’re going to click that.

• Li-Ning, the Chinese shoe company that just landed Dwyane Wade as an endorser, now has a deal with the Miami Heat.

• After the Clippers played the Bobcats, Chris Paul threw a party at a Charlotte area club. A fight broke out and things got ugly. Among those arrested was Jamie Patrice Thomas, 26, who is the wife of Bobcats forward Tyrus Thomas. She faces charges of driving while impaired and assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Charlotte Observer. Also arrested was Ben Gordon’s fiance.