Posted by Matt Moore
Ken Berger reports sources have told CBSSports.com that the Charlotte Bobcats have signed free agent Tyrus Thomas to a 5-year, $40 million deal. The move is not altogether surprising, as the Cats had invested quite a bit to land the mercurial power forward and need depth at the position.
While Thomas struggled mightily for minutes in Chicago despite putting up stellar per-minute defensive numbers, Larry Brown uncharacteristically gave Thomas extended minutes during the Charlotte playoff run, enabling his athleticism and using it as the raw counter to Boris Diaw's finesse game. The Bobcats' defensive philosophy is centered around efficient and hammering rebounding, something Thomas does well.
The question at that price tag is if Thomas has the mental makeup to be a full-time starter. Despite his considerable athleticism and an improving jumper, Thomas has long minutes of looking utterly lost on the floor, often playing recklessly and not working within the rhythm of the game. He also tends to hijack possessions routinely and look for opportunities for his shot, which still needs a lot of work.
This move also in no way shape or form locks Thomas into Charlotte long-term. The Bobcats have shown a perplexing commitment to improving their team almost solely through trades, often after signing the outgoing players to long deals. See: Okafor, Emeka. The Cats have a vested interest in Thomas but if he regresses for the thirty third time, you can bet he'll find himself on the trading block again. He's been rewarded for the work he did last season with this opportunity. If he's ever going to become the player his athleticism suggests he could be, he needs to start now.