I'm betting the Bulls and Tim Thomas are on the same page with this one.
The source also said veteran forward Tim Thomas, who
will be paid $6.4 million next season, has told people close to him
that he'd like to be moved to the Celtics. The 6-foot-10-inch,
240-pounder averaged 8.5 points and 3.1 rebounds and shot 41.3 percent
from 3-point range with the Clippers, Knicks, and Bulls in 64 games
last season. Thomas played with Allen in Milwaukee.
Well if he wants out, I'm sure the Bulls will be happy to work out a buyout that saves them $1-2 million. A minimum level contract in the NBA (likely what Thomas would get) is worth $1.3 million to him.
From the Bulls perspective, they should be able to get him to lop at least that much off his salary, because at that point he's breaking even and getting to move to a team of his choice. I guess it will depend largely on how badly Tim Thomas wants out or if he can find an LLE deal rather than a vet minimum deal.
The Bulls lose money (due to having to fill an extra roster spot) if his buyout is less than salary they pay his replacement, likely another minimum salaried player. However, the most the minimum salary the Bulls would actually pay out is $736,420.
If the minimum salary goes over that then the league picks up the difference as part of the CBA to avoid teams discriminating against older players for minimum salary deals. If Thomas is bought out, I'd expect them to save just under 600k on the cap once the buyout and the new replacement salary is taken into account.
A move which should work out well for everyone involved.