Lost in an uninspiring playoff performance, Tyrus Thomas improved tremendously in his third season. Sure, his highlight reel plays don't always make up for mediocre defensive rebounding, lack of focus, and poor fundamentals, but he had genuine improvement in his fouling, shooting, and consistency. The aftermath of a good season and poor post-season leaves us with a game of "Let's make a Deal" over Tyrus's future with the team.
First, for the impatient Bulls fan, door #1! Get him out of here! The Bulls are already shopping him according to some rumors reported by Jonathan Givony on [link]. However, a trade won't likely bring back great value at this point. Tyrus is an expiring contract with some promise, but a team isn't likely to sell the farm to get a guy in project status looking for an extension in a single year.
However, if the sell low mentality isn't for you then I offer up door #2. An early extension. The bulls can roll the dice, extend him early, and hope for continuing returns on his potential. A situation which could lead to a value contract or a bloated unmovable one in two years time while losing valuable 2010 cap space to take the gamble.
Not a reckless gambler? Neither are the Bulls, which is why we'll end up at door #3. Ride out his final year and see what happens. Pessimists call it the Tyson Chandler approach, which ended up getting Tyson a monster deal and giving the Bulls a bad contract all at the same time. Optimists call it the Eddy Curry/Jamal Crawford approach where we let him go and still get good value back.
When Reinsdorf calls me and makes me GM, sometime next week I'm sure, I attack the situation like this: If the Suns, Raptors, or Jazz want to offer me an all-star caliber big man with Tyrus being involved in the trade, then I'll send someone to pack his bags. Other than that, I'll hold on rather than selling low.
If Tyrus is so paranoid about his future that he signs in the MLE range then I'm locking him up, otherwise He's going to have to prove it on the court one more season. It's easy to see Tyrus busting out and having a great year, but it's just as easy to see him regressing and giving very little.
While Bulls fans spent an inordinate amount of effort explaining why Tyrus isn't Stromile Swift, there's a lot of work left to be done in making sure we don't look like idiots for it. As far as this blogger goes, I'm on the bandwagon, but I'm still hedging my bets. How about you?