Teams lining up for Tyrus Thomas

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tyrus thomas.jpgChicago may have given up on the talented but unfocused Tyrus Thomas, but plenty of other teams are lining up to ride the upside train.

Charlotte has made an offer: Acie Law, what’s left of Flip Murray and a first round pick this year. Portland made an offer of either Steve Blake or Travis outlaw (both expiring deals) plus two second round picks. Not impressive. We’ll call Charlotte the leader in the clubhouse.

But there are a lot of players still out on the course.

The New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Hornets are among the multiple teams who’ve spoken to Chicago about Thomas. The Bulls are telling people that they have several teams willing to offer first-round picks – in 2010 or beyond.

Bulls management is telling teams they expect to take the bidding right to the Feb. 18 deadline. The Bulls want to avoid the possibility of Thomas accepting a $6.2 million qualifying offer on the eve of this summer’s free agency, which would deliver a major dent to their salary-cap space. Thomas, 23, will be a restricted free agent this summer.

An interesting note from Wojnarowski is that the Bulls are working to have enough cap space to bring Dwyane Wade and another top-tier free agent to the windy city this summer. Derrick Rose and Wade would make an intimidating backcourt, although if the two guards who like to have the ball in their hands can learn to share would be an interesting experiment.

Final minute of Celtics-Wizards featured five-possession, 10-point, no-stoppage stretch (video)

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Crunch time of a close NBA game is awesome.

It’s exponentially better when nobody calls timeout.

The Celtics and Wizards finished with a flourish tonight, Boston coming out ahead in a frenetic final minute. The last minute included two Kyrie Irving 3-pointers (one tightly contested, one extremely deep) and a sharp drive by John Wall (who had just returned to the game from an injury).

After a flow-killing foul in the final few seconds, the Celtics won, 130-25.

More games should be like this.

Jeremy Lamb hits game-winner despite Bismack Biyombo, others Hornets prematurely running on court to celebrate

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The Hornets sure were excited for Jeremy Lamb‘s game-winner against the Pistons tonight.

Too excited.

After Lamb hit a jumper to put Charlotte up two with 0.3 seconds left, several Hornets ran onto the court. Bismack Biyombo was nearly at halfcourt as Detroit tried to inbound! He was so far onto the court, I’m not even sure officials noticed him when dinging Malik Monk – closer to the bench –for the violation.

Ashley Holder:

The Pistons made a technical free throw to cut their deficit to one, but they still had to inbound from under their own basket. Their desperation pass was intercepted, and Charlotte held on for a 108-107 win.

Several Hornets were certainly relieved.

Crazily enough, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this.

Suns’ T.J. Warren fined $15k for inappropriate language toward official following ejection (video)

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Everyone on the Suns seems frustrated.

In Phoenix’s loss to the Clippers on Monday, T.J. Warren got ejected. And his outburst will cost him extra.

NBA release:

Phoenix Suns forward T.J. Warren has been fined $15,000 for directing inappropriate language toward a game official following his ejection, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

This wasn’t a lengthy exchange. Warren didn’t linger on the court complaining. He must have said something extremely harsh to warrant two technical fouls and a fine that quickly.

(Despite confusion, the foul preceding the ejection was called on Deandre Ayton, not Warren.)

Pacers star Victor Oladipo returns from 11-game absence

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When the Pacers ruled Victor Oladipo out indefinitely a couple weeks ago, it seemed gloomy.

But Indiana weathered the storm, going 7-4 without its best player.

Now, Oladipo is back. He started against the Bucks tonight.

I still think the Raptors, Celtics, 76ers and Bucks will comprise the Eastern Conference’s top tier by the end of the season. But the Pacers (17-10, fourth in East) have a chance to crash the party. They acquitted themselves well without Oladipo, and it should get only easier with their offensive focal point/top perimeter defender.