Tyrus Thomas did not play versus the Heat on Saturday. Instead, Chris Richard, recently signed from the D-League's Tulsa 66ers (owned by the Oklahoma City Thunder and rife with talent) got the minutes Thomas would have. And he didn't score the winning field goal, or spur an offensive explosion. But Richard came in, and did his job. He grabbed seven rebounds, handed out two assists, nabbed a steal, and had two blocks. This is the box score version. But the combination of effort and size he put in what exactly what the Bulls needed, especially with Joakim Noah out, and helped the Bulls outlast Dwyane Wade's Miami Heat.
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That effort is in deep contrast to Thomas' absence, caused by a post-game tirade after the Bulls loss in Atlanta the night before. Thomas has been on the outs in Chicago since an injury derailed him early in the season. Upon return, he discovered that Taj Gibson's steady, consistent, but un-jaw-dropping play had cemented him in the starting power forward spot. Thomas responded with the same approach he's taken for most of his career. Disinterest mixed with resentment, lacking any effort to consistently produce what's being asked of him. If Tyrus Thomas is everything the fans want when he tries, Chris Richard is good enough for what his coaches want because he does try.
Richard long could have abandoned the NBA dream, having spent three seasons bouncing from training camp to overseas to the D-League. But with an impressive physical set and after consistently earning marks for both his talent and effort, Richard may finally be turning it around. We'll have to see if he can produce at the NBA level like he did versus the Heat to see if his ten-day contract is extended to the rest of the season. Richard makes for a compliment to Gibson's quiet, but relentless approach. Whereas Thomas is more likely to jump seemingly 20 feet in the air to block a shot, Gibson's more likely to commit a hard foul to stop a shot. While Thomas can throw down a dunk like few can (even though he's publicly dismissed the dunk contest in a pretty fan unfriendly way), Gibson's more likely to scrap for an offensive put-back.
Thomas is continually defended by Bulls fans because of his high ceiling, his lack of development blamed on Vinny Del Negro. Gibson is sometimes derided because he wasn't the sexy pick that DeJuan Blair was and because he wasn't born after the Berlin Wall fell. Thomas is an electrifying athlete. Richard and Gibson are just solid basketball players.
NBA Trade Rumors: Where The Celtics Are That Lady Whose Garage Sale Is Horribly Overpriced
# Kirk Hinrich and John Salmons are available. I would be shocked if the Celtics had not already contacted Chicago about one or both of them, and several outlets have reported that the C’s have inquired about Hinrich.
# The Celtics will NOT give up Ray Allen in any deal with the Bulls centering around Hinrich or Salmons. This should be obvious, but the Chicago Sun-Times (citing no sources of any kind, not even anonymous ones) gave this notion some credence it doesn’t deserve. If the C’s go for either play, they will offer a combination of expiring deals and wait out Chicago, hoping no contender offers anything better. Boston will only give up Allen for an impact player, and there just aren’t many of those that a) work under the cap; b) are available.
via A Shot at Some Definitive Trade Conclusions » Boston Celtics Basketball – Celtics news, rumors and analysis – CelticsHub.com.
So the Celtics have realized that Ray Allen is NOT an impact player anymore and therefore needs to be moved for them to stay in contention… but they’re only trading him for an impact player.
I get the argument. The expiring contract is the trade chip, not the player. But the only teams that would really be interested in acquiring Allen are teams looking to boost this season AND contend for a free agent. So, Chicago. If you’re willing to accept you’re probably not winning the title this year (not absolutely, probably), then you can go ahead and go into the offseason and try and acquire an upgrade. Except then Pierce and Garnett are a year more gone. The window’s either open or closed this year. If it’s closed, hang on to Allen, try and move a few other pieces and get your big market club in the market this summer. If it’s not, you’d better try and get the best overall deal you can and push for the playoffs this year. Hinrich and Salmons may not be impact players, bu they can be parts of a championship team. Eddie House was, for God’s sake.
Bulls targetting Brendan Haywood for Tyrus/Johnson?
Per a realgm user who's posted reliable information in the past:
Latest info I got is that Brendan Haywood has been informed that he could be going to Chicago for Tyrus Thomas and James Johnson.This comes from a player my guy represents here in Europe and is close to Brendan.
Well Haywood is definitely the best player in this deal if it's true. This deal also begs for a followup deal involving Brad Miller. If you are left with a front court of Miller, Noah, and Haywood you basically have three centers and the only legit PF on the roster is Gibson.
It would certainly improve the team though as Haywood would give us more toughness and rebounding than we presently have and Tyrus / Johnson isn't doing much for us anyway.
The downside of course is that James Johnson is the only piece in the trade who's got some potential value next season as it's highly unlikely Haywood or Tyrus would return in a year. On the upside, clearing out Johnson's salary would save us over 1 million in cap room next season, and maybe that becomes fairly important when negotiating with a FA.
Bulls will say ta-ta after another Thomas tirade
"You don't lose your starting job to injury" is one of the older clichés in sports, which, sadly, "a Tyrus Thomas team-imposed suspension" is becoming too.
Following Thomas' verbal tirade at coach Vinny Del Negro on Friday in Atlanta, that's three disciplinary actions taken by management in four seasons for Thomas, the soon-to-be former Bull.
Whether the Bulls find a taker for the forward by the Feb. 18 trade deadline or simply renounce his rights this summer, Thomas either will or won't reach his tantalizing potential elsewhere.
The Bulls will say the steady play of rookie Taj Gibson is why Thomas is no longer the starting power forward after missing seven weeks with a fractured radius in his left forearm. And Gibson unquestionably has been a steal of the draft, a fundamentally sound, reliable player.
But part of successful coaching is managing personalities. When Thomas came off the bench to average 16 points, 10.3 rebounds and two blocks in 30.3 minutes in his first three games back from injury in late December, the time to start him and allow him to play through some mistakes arrived.
Instead, Thomas came off the bench to play just 15 foul-plagued minutes on Jan. 2 against Orlando. He has played more than 30 minutes just once since — on Jan. 20 at the Clippers — and tallied 18 points, six rebounds and three blocks while doing so.
What can we expect from Joe Johnson?
[From the Fanposts. Real cool stuff from YaoPau, supplying caution for the Bulls prospective 2010 FA signing. It's still not a given that he'd leave Atlanta given their success. But between the Bulls media pumping him up, the Arn Tellem connection, and the likely desperation (and not exactly unwarranted) from the Bulls to sign someone to a max deal, this is one of the most likely possibilities of next summer. -ed]
I keep hearing Joe Johnson is the #4 option if we strike out on LeBron/Wade/Bosh. His resume fits that ranking: 4-straight all-star appearances, 22ppg scorer, good 3pt shot, good passer, plays 40mpg with almost no injury history, and he's the offensive star of a Hawks team headed toward 55 wins.
But it's his age - he turns 29 in four months - that makes me cautious. The Bulls have a thin rotation already, and we stand to lose Tyrus, Miller, and either Hinrich/Salmons before the start of next season. With Rose and Noah still developing, and rotation pieces needing to be acquired, our window for contention if we miss LeBron/Wade is probably a couple years away.
I'd expect Johnson to remain a star at ages 29 and 30. But after that, when we'll really need him, what can we expect?
Bulls hoping to leave Thomas' tirade behind
Tyrus Thomas returned to Bulls practice on Monday, two days after serving a team-imposed suspension.
Thomas did not address the media, which wasn't surprising. Most of the Bulls were anxious to reach the airport so they could beat the forecast of snowy weather into Indianapolis for Tuesday's game against the Pacers.
Listening to coach Vinny Del Negro and guard Derrick Rose following practice at the Berto Center, it seemed as though the Bulls almost expected an angry outburst from Thomas, who played 20 minutes or less in five straight games before the suspension.
"It's not the first thing that's happened with Tyrus," Del Negro said. "He's got to be smarter and he's got to be committed to the team. Today was a good practice, not (just) for him, but for everybody. Now we've got to move on."
Rose was also nonchalant about the incident, stressing that it was forgotten shortly after it occurred.
"He apologized right after that happened, just saying he was sorry and stuff like that," Rose said. "So we got that out of the way and now we're focused on just winning games. - It seems like he's on the right path, so we're just going to leave him that way."