Thomas arrives in Charlotte after trade
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For years Tyrus Thomas kept hearing about Larry Brown. Now the talented, but underachieving power forward gets to play for the demanding Hall of Fame coach in a new setting he hopes allows him to finally reach his potential.
Thomas and center Theo Ratliff, the latest additions in the Bobcats' dizzying two years of trades and player moves under Brown, were introduced a couple hours before they were to make their debuts for Charlotte on Friday against Cleveland.
Thomas is the key addition for the Bobcats as they try to secure the franchise's first playoff berth. And the player who clashed with coaches in Chicago vows he'll have no trouble getting used to the sometimes-cranky Brown.
Countless stories from Brown's former players have him ready.
"I've been with Lindsey [Hunter] the last year and a half and I was with Big Ben [Wallace] my first year and a half," Thomas said. "All Ben ever talked was 'LB this, LB that.' All Lindsey ever says, 'LB this, LB that.'
"Both those guys say the same thing. He's going to be tough on you but he cares about you and if you just listen you'll get better, the team will get better and everybody is going to succeed. That's what I'm looking forward to."
The fourth pick in the 2006 draft brings an athletic, rebounding, shot-blocker to Charlotte, but also concerns. He was suspended twice in Chicago, the last time earlier this month for conduct detrimental to the team.
But playing time, the topic that led to his unhappiness with the Bulls, shouldn't be an issue in Charlotte. The Bobcats have been searching for help behind starter Boris Diaw for months.
Thomas was averaging 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds with the Bulls.
"He's a pretty special athlete," Brown said. "I've always felt that you get two or three like him, just go play and get some ballhandlers that can penetrate and kick, you've got a pretty good formula for some success."
Stephen Jackson hugged his two new teammates when they walked on the court at the end of Friday's shootaround. Jackson is excited about Thomas' addition, but also lamented the loss of guard Flip Murray, who was sent to Chicago on Thursday along with Acie Law and a future first-round draft pick.
"I didn't want to lose Flip. He took a lot of pressure off me and made a lot of big shots," Jackson said. "But we had a hole in the middle. ... He's going to be a great fit. Another athlete, another guy we can drop it to in the post."
The 36-year-old Ratliff will provide needed depth at center, but also could serve as the sometimes volatile Jackson's guide. The two were once teammates in Atlanta.
"I just told him, 'Now I've got my shrink back," Jackson said. "Being with Theo all those years, he was a guy I could really talk to and help me get through a lot of stuff on and off the court."
Ratliff, acquired for a 2016 second-round pick, was OK with leaving San Antonio because his lack of playing time.
"In San Antonio I was sitting, so Larry reached out and the trade was made," Ratliff said. "They asked me if I was going to be happy about it and I feel good about it. I feel good about this team. They definitely kicked our butts when we came here."
Charlotte has struggled of late, however, making the addition of Thomas more crucial as the Bobcats try to hold off challengers for a playoff spot.
"Me and Coach Brown had a great talk this morning when I got in," Thomas said. "I think this is going to be a new start for me. Hopefully this allows me to do what I'm capable of doing."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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