Bobcats Chronicles

How a young NBA franchise gets it going

The Deal: Murray, Law for Tyrus Thomas

Posted by Sup on February 19, 2010

ESPN is reporting that the Bobcats have sent Flip Murray, Acie Law, and a protected number one pick to the Chicago Bulls for forward Tyrus Thomas in a trade deadline deal.

Murray was having an OK season for the Bobcats, averaging just under 10 points per game, and Law was roster filler. Thomas was clearly no longer in the Bulls’ plans, having squandered his opportunities there with petulant behavior and erratic performances. He averaged 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds for the season, playing in only 29 games.

Thomas was drafted number 2 out of LSU in 2006, and was looked at as a potential star due to his incredible leaping ability and energy. But he never seemed to progress in the Bulls’ system, and was at odds with coaches and management much of the time. He needed a fresh start, and Charlotte seems eager to give it to him. He provides a long, athletic big man that the Bobcats have not had, but he also brings with him the baggage of being a loudmouth and insubordinate.

The trade brings up these questions: how does a guy like this mesh with the already volatile Stephen Jackson? How will he manage under the demanding Larry Brown when he couldn’t keep it together under the inexperienced Vinny Del Negro? And will he be in the team’s long term plans? Thomas is at the end of his rookie contract, and will be looking for a new contract in April. This should hopefully push him to be on his best behavior, but doesn’t guarantee anything. If he figures out the whole “maturity” concept in that short a time, I’ll be as surprised as anyone.

He’s talented, there is no arguing that. His performance in the playoffs against the Celtics shows you the tease:  9.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 20 blocks in 7 games.

Perhaps my buddy Gene said it best: “He’s got all the potential in the world … to give you bleeding ulcers.”

Now in the what the Bobcats gave up category: a scorer off the bench in Flip Murray. His numbers weren’t spectacular, but he did give the Bobcats some meaningful minutes off the bench at the 1 and 2. Those minutes will have to be absorbed by some combination of D.J. Augustin and Gerald Henderson, though I would guess that nothing has been promised to Henderson. Ultimately, Augustin was not traded because Raymond Felton is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and they really need to have the insurance policy of Augustin’s availability in the event Felton walks.

This trade (and the later trade for the dessicated corpse of Theo Ratliff) were, like the Jackson trade, made for the now. Though Thomas has the potential to be a building block for the future, he addresses an immediate need for help in the big positions. Can he get his head together enough to help the team? I’m not so sure. He left Chicago under a could of bad feelings and unprofessional behavior. To expect him to turn it around in a matter of days is unrealistic. He will be on his best behavior for a time, but I have concerns that down the road, he sees himself as much more valuable than he really is. For now, with all three Bobcats centers nursing injuries, he’s going to be thrown into the mix with a hope and a prayer.

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