Tyrus Thomas on the trading block

Marc Stein says (via TrueHoop) that Tyrus Thomas is definitely available.

I’ve been reliably assured that Chicago’s Tyrus Thomas, back at last from a forearm injury, remains highly available.

No trade partner has emerged for the enigmatic former No. 4 overall pick, but moving Thomas before the deadline is still Chicago’s intention.

The Bulls drafted Taj Gibson at least partly because they saw him as an ideal replacement for Thomas and they like the progress Gibson is making as a starter.

One look at the Bulls’ salary cap situation explains why the Bulls are so willing to move the talented Thomas. They are currently projected to have about $13 million in cap space without him on the books. Thomas will be a restricted free agent next summer, so to have the cap space to sign a big name free agent, the Bulls have to move either Thomas or John Salmons before the trade deadline for expiring deals, or waive the rights to Thomas altogether.

It’s possible that Salmons will opt out of the final year of his deal, but the Bulls probably don’t want to take that chance. They’d like to get some sort of asset for one or both of the players. The Bulls could also free up the necessary cap space by trading Kirk Hinrich, but the team has been reluctant since he’s such a versatile guard and good defender.

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