The Chicago Bulls waived forward Malcolm Thomas yesterday, according to a report by RealGM, which has since been confirmed by K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Thomas’s contract dictated that if not waived by July 24, his $884,293 non-guaranteed contract would become $250,000 guaranteed, as we covered yesterday in a weirdly prescient piece.
I was absolutely incensed about this yesterday. If you want to read the rant I unleashed on Twitter, you can do that, but be warned that I was not terribly concerned with keeping my language clean. After a night to sleep on it, I’m still pissed.
I’m pissed because I liked Malcolm Thomas and I think he has a bright future in this league. I’m also pissed because I think it’s ridiculous that a team with as many injury problems as the Bulls to be sacrificing depth when they don’t need to. But most of all, I’m pissed because once again the Bulls did something stupid in the name of saving Jerry Reinsdorf money.
Logically, there is only one reason to waive Thomas when you’ve already signed him to a contract for this season. You obviously like Thomas as a player and as a person or you wouldn’t have signed him. The only way such a thing would make sense is if it’s a cash grab, which it is.
The initial RealGM report said the Bulls were “unable” to retain Thomas, which is both hilarious and untrue, and hilariously untrue. The Bulls are the single most profitable franchise in the NBA and with Thomas already under contract — and two more roster spots open behind him — there’s nothing that would prevent the Bulls from keeping him around. Except for money, of course.
How much money, you ask? Well, as I previously mentioned, Thomas would have made $884,293, according to ShamSports.com, which is the minimum amount for a player at Thomas’s experience level. The Bulls were approximately $8.5 million over the tax line, which means Thomas’s contract would have been taxed at $1.75 for every dollar. That means that keeping Thomas would cost the Bulls $1,547,512.75. Factor in Thomas’s salary, and the total cost for keeping Thomas would have been $2,431,805.75.
That’s how little Jerry Reinsdorf cares about the Bulls. He could have kept a young, athletic forward with potential, making as little money as is possible for his experience level, but instead said “Nah, I’ll take the cash.”
And it’s not like this is the first time he’s done this. Remember last summer, when the Bulls waived CJ Watson and Ronnie Brewer to avoid paying their salaries and then traded Kyle Korver for absolutely nothing? (The $5 million trade exception the Bulls got from that deal expired last week, so when I say absolutely nothing I mean absolutely nothing.) Then, of course, they went out of their way to sign Kirk Hinrich for too much money and hard-capped themselves, which is actually a brilliant move in that it gave them an excuse to stay within a Rip Hamilton salary-dump of not paying the luxury tax at all. Then, of course, nobody wanted Rip, so they paid the tax anyway. HA! Joke’s on you, Jerry!
Now, you may rightly ask why I’m so upset about a guy who has barely any NBA experience and didn’t figure to play a whole lot this season. After all, the Bulls have said they want to sign another big man and have targeted Marcus Camby, so doesn’t that make up for it?
First of all, let’s all remember that this is 2013, not 2003, and Marcus Camby is old and hasn’t been good in at least two years. He missed 58 games last year and shot 32 percent from the field when he did play. Second of all, there is absolutely no reason not to both sign Camby and keep Thomas … unless you’re Jerry Reinsdorf, and you want to save that $2.4 million. Also, I happen to be more upset than the average person because, as I said, I really like Thomas and think he’s going to be really good. But every single Bulls fan should be incensed that this happened. Every last one of you.
Because as long as Jerry Reinsdorf is in charge, stupid BS like this is going to keep happening.