So, last week, we posted a piece detailing a number of incredibly minor issues surrounding the Chicago Bulls and their players’ salaries in 2013-14. That ended up being an excuse to get into why the so-called “2014 plan,” in which the Bulls would amnesty Carlos Boozer and let Luol Deng leave as a free agent in order to have max-level cap room for a number of marquee free agents that supposedly are going to be available next summer, is basically a non-starter. Anyway, turns out we missed a couple of things that could have an impact on the composition of the Bulls’ roster this season. Namely, the situation regarding one Malcolm Thomas.
For those of you who are unaware, Malcolm Thomas is a power forward out of San Diego State. He played for the Bulls’ summer league team in 2012 and played really well, but the Bulls decided it wasn’t worth using some of their precious salary allotment — finite because they stupidly and unnecessarily hard-capped themselves — to sign him. He played in Israel for a while, eventually returning to the NBA in March with the Golden State Warriors on a ten-day contract. He signed with the Bulls after that contract expired, earning a pair of ten-day contracts in Chicago before signing for the rest of the season, with an un-guaranteed year for 2013-14.
Therein lies the rub. Thomas returned to the Bulls’ summer league squad and once again acquitted himself nicely, even setting the Las Vegas Summer League record for most rebounds in a game with 22. He’s talented, athletic and familiar with Tom Thibodeau’s system. He projects as kind of a poor man’s Taj Gibson, in some ways. And yet, for some reason, rumblings from the Bulls indicate he may not stick around for the season. His contract is, again, not guaranteed, and it’s possible — likely, even — that Jerry Reinsdorf would like to save money wherever he can.
However, for those of us who happen to really like Thomas and want him to stick around — or, in my case, receive actual minutes off the bench — there’s some degree of hope. Per Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com, which is a really excellent site and you should really check it out, Thomas’s contract becomes partially guaranteed on July 24 if he hasn’t been waived by then. July 24 is, for those who don’t keep a calendar handy, this Wednesday. Therefore, if Thomas is still on the roster as of Wednesday at 11 p.m. central time — midnight eastern — he is owed a guaranteed $250,000, whether he plays for the Bulls this year or not. Knowing that Reinsdorf generally dislikes having to pay people money not to play for his team — Rip Hamilton aside, presumably — there’s a decent chance that portion of guaranteed money would secure Thomas a roster spot.
So, as the headline of this post might suggest, let the Malcolm Thomas watch begin!
In other news, Deeks/ShamSports have another tidbit of note regarding one of the Bulls big men. Nazr Mohammed, because of some rather random CBA minutiae, will have full no-trade rights this season. The exact reason for this probably isn’t important and would take a while to explain in any case, so just know that if the Bulls wanted to make a trade such that Mohammed needed to be involved — whether because of salary or a roster spot — they’d need to get his approval first.