Shipping Tyrus Thomas Up to Boston, or Elsewhere

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By Paul M. Banks

Did you hear the Chicago Bulls are close to dealing embattled forward Tyrus Thomas (and next year’s second round pick) to the Boston Celtics for Glen “Big Baby” Davis?

No? Have you heard they offered Thomas, Kirk Hinrich and a second-round pick in 2012 to Boston for Rajon Rondo? I’m guessing you have not.

Because I just made those offers up now as I was typing this. The truth is, no one other than Bulls co-General Managers John Paxson and Gar Forman actually know where Tyrus Thomas is going to land Thursday. We just know he NEEDS to be moved.

The Bulls sent a strong message this fall by not extending Thomas’ contract. The organization REALLY sent a strong message last June when they used both of their draft picks on guys who play his exact position. The Bulls have been desperately trying to move him for awhile and that eager willingness to sell may be affecting his market value.

According to Yahoo! Sports “Each of the three coaches T.T. has played under — Scott Skiles, Jim Boylan and Vinny Del Negro — has yanked him around the rotation, and there has been literally no confidence-building going on.”

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! reported that the Bulls received more offers for T.T. after he’d been suspended a game by the team than at any time before. Unsurprising, that teams would try to lowball the Bulls when the disconnect between team and player reached a new peak.

The most common rumor floating around now is Thomas to San Antonio straight up for Antonio McDyess.

And the Knicks have offered Al Harrington for Thomas and Jerome James.

NBA Fanhouse reports other Thomas possibilities:

The franchise’s front office has suggested to prospective bidders that they have a solid offer of a middling first-round pick and expiring contracts. The Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets made bids for Thomas over the weekend, league sources said…Several league executives suggested the Minnesota Timberwolves could be a sleeper for him.

Minnesota general manager David Kahn has been researching Thomas and has plenty of assets – three 2010 first-round picks, multiple second-rounders and a host of expiring contracts – to make it happen.

Here’s something else to watch: The Portland Trail Blazers were telling teams over the weekend they had a chance to acquire Los Angeles Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic and wondered whether teams might have an interest in obtaining him.

This prompted several executives to suggest the Blazers were working on a three-team trade, including one Eastern Conference general manager who had been told the elements of the package included Thomas and Vujacic to Portland, the Bulls’ Kirk Hinrich to Los Angeles and the Lakers’ Adam Morrison, another expiring deal and a first-round pick to the Bulls.

So what did Thomas’ current (for now) Coach, Vinny Del Negro have to say about  swirling trade winds? Do they affect Thomas’ ability to do his job?

“We have good character guys, they understand the business part of it. Like I always said, if their name is in rumors, it means teams wants him. And that’s a good thing for a player, you only have to be wanted by one team,” Del Negro said just before taking on another team in heavy trade talks- the New York Knicks.

As much as it appears Thomas will NOT be a Bull next year, it’s even more likely that “My Coach Vinny” will be dismissed from Chicago. He’s already accumulated a long rap sheet of termination worthy offenses, the international shoe-tying incident being the most colorful.

And the smart money was betting he would be canned -in a Dickensian manner- on Christmas Eve; since Chicago has done exactly that to two coaches this decade already. Yet he’s still here, and answering questions from reporters about the exaggerated reports of his demise with political aplomb.

“You have to deal with it- it’s part of the business. Obviously winning covers up a lot of it, when you lose there’s going to be speculation, questions, everything. Knowing that, I prepare the same way knowing whatever all of you are saying, and I try to go about my business and control what I can control and that’s my effort and preparation.” Vinny stated.

Even though he’s much-maligned, and will probably never get another head coaching job in the NBA, we have to give Vinny some credit on occasion.

But Vinny’s fate will be determined later. Today, it’s all about Tyrus Thomas. It’s “Trade Deadline Eve,” and T.T. is still here. But like Phil Collins once sang, you “can feel it coming, in the air tonight. Hold on. Hold on.”

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