Bulls sign first-round picks Thomas, Sefolosha

Updated: August 1, 2006, 5:08 PM ET
SportsTicker

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls officially announced the signing of first-round picks Tyrus Thomas and Thabo Sefolosha on Tuesday.

Both played for the Bulls in the summer league in Orlando last month, making the announcement of the signings a mere formality.

As the fourth overall pick, Thomas will make $5.63 million in the first two years of the deal under the rookie salary scale. As the 13th selection, Sefolosha will make $2.93 million in the first two years. The Bulls hold club options for the next two years of each contract.

The Bulls actually selected forward LaMarcus Aldridge of Texas with the second overall pick but traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers for Thomas and forward Viktor Khryapa.

Chicago then swapped first-round picks with the Philadelphia 76ers, receiving the rights to Swiss swingman Sefolosha for the rights to Memphis swingman Rodney Carney and a 2007 second-round pick.

Thomas and Sefolosha should increase the activity and athleticism of the Bulls, who have made the playoffs the last two years.

The 6-foot-9 Thomas left Louisiana State after his freshman season and is just 19 years old. He had an excellent first campaign, making a name for himself during LSU's surprising run to the Final Four.

The Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year, Thomas averaged 12.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and a league-leading 3.1 blocked shots. He projects as a small forward in the NBA.

Thomas has wondrous athletic talent that amazes even at the NBA level. His ability to jump quickly enables him to get rebounds and block shots that lesser athletes have no opportunity to get.

Thomas showed off his athleticism in the summer league, where he averaged 16.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots in five games.

The 6-5, 215-pound Sefolosha has considerable toughness and defensive skills for a young European player. He averaged 12.0 points and 6.4 rebounds in 21 games in his first season with Angelico Biella of the top Italian League. He also averaged 9.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 42 games with Chalon-Sur-Saone of the French Pro A in 2004-05.

Sefolosha, 22, has the top-drawer athletic ability needed to have a defensive presence against the spectacular athletes playing small forward in the NBA. He has long arms and quick feet, everything needed to eventually be a top defender.

In the summer league, Sefolosha played in just two games and averaged 16.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 steals.