It was just announced that the Charlotte Bobcats have come to an agreement to sign big man Al Jefferson. To make room the team plans to us the Amnesty Clause to rid themselves of Tyrus Thomas and his contract. Could the New York Knicks take advantage of Thomas' availability and add an athletic big they've craved over for the last several years?
The Charlotte Bobcats have cap holds for Gerald Henderson and Cody Zeller on their books. They don't intend on renouncing Henderson so they have to make room to pay Al Jefferson. His new four-year pact will pay him about $13.5 million a year, the team only has about $10 million in cap space left.
For the Bobcats, Tyrus Thomas is the only player on the roster eligible to be amnestied. Thomas is scheduled to make $8,694,215 for the 2013-14 season and $9,388,430 for the 2014-15 season. However, using the Amnesty Clause could allow Charlotte to pay Thomas all or most of his salary, depending on if he's picked up by another team, but the Bobcats wouldn't endure a cap hit for Thomas.
Zach Lowe of Grantland.com reports the Bobcats are likely to let Thomas go.
Quick math suggests this Big Al contract likely requires use of amnesty on Tyrus Thomas, for whom CHA still owes CHI a 1st-round pick.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 4, 2013
David Aldridge of NBA.com confirmed the Bobcats' intentions to use the Amnesty Clause on Thomas.
Bobcats will amnesty F Tyrus Thomas to create the room to sign Jefferson.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 4, 2013
Darnell Mayberry of NewsOK.com reports how the Amnesty Clause works for players let go.
What happens to amnestied players: A player waived under the amnesty clause must go through the waiver process, which lasts 48 hours. During that time, a team can claim an amnestied player by making a full waiver claim and assuming the player's full contract. If no full waiver claims are submitted, partial waiver claims allow teams that have room under the salary cap to bid on the player and acquire him at a reduced rate. The team with the highest bid is awarded the player. If multiple teams bid the same amount, the team with the worst record is awarded the player.
Lets face it, the Knicks are not going to be afforded the chance to bid on Thomas. They are over the cap and will have to wait to see if Thomas clears waivers. If he does, he'll become an unrestricted free agent and he'll be able to pick where he plays next. He'd basically be in the same situation that Andray Blatche is where he still gets paid and usually signs for the minimum with their new team knowing they'll get paid from both clubs. Perhaps Thomas could be a cheap addition to the Knicks bench.
Thomas is a 6'10", 225 pound forward from Baton Rouge, Louisiana who was selected fourth overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2006 NBA Draft. He was traded on draft night to the Chicago Bulls where he's played from 2006-10. He was then traded to the Charlotte Bobcats where he's played from 2010 until now.
The Knicks once almost landed Thomas for a package involving Jerome James and Al Harrington. The Bulls instead sent him to Charlotte. Now that it appears Bobcats are about to cut him free and he could only cost them the veteran's minimum you'd have to thing the Knicks will check in on him.
Thomas has great length and athletic ability. He also runs the floor very well. Thomas is also very good at blocking shots from the weak-side as well as straight up on the man he’s guarding. He can step out against the pick and roll and recover to the basket effectively. He can also come up with steals, especially on lazy passes around him using his wingspan and take the ball the length of the floor. Thomas is also a solid rebounder.
On offense, Thomas is still pretty raw in the post but he has a jump-hook and a fair mid-range jumper. His offensive game is a bit under developed because his freakish athleticism has allowed him to get away without working on his game. You could say he's a bit like Amar'e Stoudemire without the killer mid-range jump shot.
Virtually all of his weaknesses come from him relying on his athleticism. He doesn't really have go-to moves on the offensive end, doesn't have a great jump shooting game and seems to think he can cheat too much on defense. That being said, those are the reasons why he's much more suited to come off the bench instead of being a player teams build around. However, on the Knicks he'd never be a starter. Instead he'd be able to play to his strengths and give the Knicks height, length and athleticism off the bench.
The Amnesty Clause in the most recent CBA gave teams the chance to rid themselves of an existing contract that they wanted off their books. However, it also gave other teams the opportunity to add talent they may have not been able to afford at a lower cost. That's been the case with Blatche in Brooklyn and he's become a key player for them. Thomas could do the same for the Knicks.
Now it's a matter of the Bobcats officially pulling the trigger on letting Thomas go, seeing if he can clear waivers and then Glen Grunwald can pitch New York City and Madison Square Garden to Thomas. He shouldn't need more than the veteran's minimum. He's already being paid for two more years by Charlotte. Why shouldn't New York take advantage and let the Bobcats pay Thomas to play for the Knicks and give the team another athletic weapon off their bench?
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