Sources close to the situation say that the Wizards had been trying to engage Charlotte on a Blatche-for-Tyrus Thomas swap.
The Wizards would naturally prefer Boris Diaw and his expiring contract -- with the bonus of knowing that Diaw's passing eye could only give the wild Wiz a much-needed boost to their basketball IQ -- but the ever-thrifty Bobcats aren't about to take on the remaining three years (worth nearly $23 million) on Blatche's contract if Thomas' similarly hefty deal isn't headed the other way.
Thomas signed a five-year, $40 million deal the same summer Blatche got his new contract. Following this year, he'll have three years and just over $26 million left on his deal. Basically, he's slightly more expensive than Blatche.
Is Thomas worth acquiring? It's an interesting question. Most know him as the 2006 draft-day disappointment that the Bulls acquired for budding superstar LaMarcus Aldridge, but prior to this year, Thomas had actually started to develop. He had his best year as a pro last season, putting 10 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in 21 minutes to go along with an 18.2 PER, a 53.6% TS% and good defense. Problem is, he's regressed big-time this year. His per-game averages have sunk to 7.4 points and 5 rebounds, and his PER is way down at 10.3. All this is despite playing six more minutes per game because the Bobcats stink. Essentially, we're talking about two teams looking to deal away talented, but inconsistent players.
I think there's some reason to believe that Thomas' struggles this year are a bit flukey given the sample. However, I also think the Wizards have to ask themselves if doing this is better than just waiting until the summer and using the one-time amnesty clause on Blatche. The clause can only be used on players who were under contract with their respective teams during the old CBA, so they wouldn't be able to acquire Thomas, figure out if he'll turn it around and use the clause on him if he doesn't. Otherwise, it's down to Blatche and ... well ... nobody, really, because Rashard Lewis can be bought out for $10 million of his $23 million salary next year.
Is acquiring Thomas better than losing the ability to use the amnesty clause? That's the question we all should be asking.
(HT to Jake for getting this up first).