I'm supposed to be writing something about the Mavericks, and looking over their roster I came across our old friend former Clipper Tim Thomas. I was wondering if Thomas might be able to help the Mavs this season, but then I started thinking about his well-traveled career. It turns out, you could amuse yourself for quite some time with Tim Thomas trivia (or at least, I could).
For instance, try these question:
- Name an NBA player who was twice traded for Keith Van Horn? Answer: Tim Thomas. When Thomas and Van Horn were draft picks in 1997, the Nets traded Thomas to the Sixers as part of a seven player deal. Turns out, former Clipper rebounding champ Michael Cage, and Fox Sports studio analyst Don MacLean were also in that trade. Small world. (See I told you this was fun.)
- Name an NBA player who was twice traded from the Knicks to the Bulls? Answer: Tim Thomas. There are probably other players, in the history of the NBA, for whom this is true. Of course players get traded a lot, but doesn't that strike you as somewhat odd? The same player, traded from team A to team B twice within four years? I wonder how often that happens?
Name an NBA player who received multi-million dollar contract buy outs from the same team twice? Answer: Tim Thomas.
The Bulls bought out Thomas in March of 2006 and again this summer. And I'm not talking about some guy trying to make a roster on a non-guaranteed contract and getting waived in training camp. Some fringe NBA guy has probably been waived dozens of times. I'm talking about a guy on a multi-million dollar guaranteed contract.
Think about it. Guys get overpaid all the time, and then their contract becomes a burden, and if they can't be traded, eventually they get bought out. Steve Francis, Stephon Marbury, Mo Taylor. It happens all the time. But usually those guys get a huge stigma and can't sign another large contract. How many 'overpaid bought-out' guys actually turn around and sign another contract that is of sufficient size and duration that they actually have to be bought out AGAIN? Fool me once.... I can't think of any other player to whom this has happened. Can you? It tells you something about the tantalizing talent that is Tim Thomas. Milwaukee gave him a 6/$67M contract based almost entirely on that potential. Then, six years later, after the guy had proved over and over that he wasn't worth anywhere close to that money, the Clipper gave him 4/$24M. A lot less to sure, but still as it turned out too much.
Chicago bought Thomas out of the final year of his Bucks deal back in 2006 (he was due to make $14M in that season), and although there were only about 6 weeks left in the season at the time, he hadn't been a part of the team for most of the year to that point. Then, this summer they bought him out of the last year of his Clipper deal, about $6.5M. That's a lot of money the Bulls have paid Thomas over the years to simply go away.
As for the Clippers, it certainly has turned out to be an ill-advised signing. But at least they were able to deal him before they had to buy him out.