Tim Thomas officially re-signed with the Mavericks almost a month ago, but today Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reported that Thomas will not be a Maverick in practice this season, even if he’s currently one in name. Thomas’ wife’s health again demands his attention, and he will not be playing for Dallas (or conceivably any NBA team) this season without a substantial change in her status. Sefko also noted that it’s possible Thomas could retire from basketball altogether.
First order of business: my thoughts and prayers go out to Tim, Tricia, and the rest of the Thomas family.
In terms of how this will affect the team, the specifics of what will happen with Thomas’ deal (and roster spot) have yet to be determined. According to Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas, the Mavs are currently working with league officials to void Thomas’ contract.
It’s a pity. Thomas functioned well with Dallas, and he gave the Mavs a solid reserve last season during his limited time with the team. In Thomas’ stead, the Mavericks could find more playing time for Ian Mahinmi, who brings size, athleticism, and rebounding to any lineup he’s in. Mahinmi’s skills aren’t ideal if he’s playing alongside Brendan Haywood or Tyson Chandler rather than behind them, but he can defend opposing bigs and produce a bit without using many possessions. Considering that we’re talking about a candidate for leftovers, I think Rick Carlisle can live with that.
Another option is for Dallas to bring in another big for a look in training camp. Many of the more promising fringe NBA prospects have already found training camp homes, but should Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle feel compelled to add another big to the roster, there are still a few candidates available. Recently added to that bunch of available big men is former Maverick Pops Mensah-Bonsu, and while Pops doesn’t have any concrete (or even rumored) links to the team at present, he’s the cream of the remaining crop. Otherwise, you’re looking at a pool of D-Leaguers (though keep in mind that some have already accepted training camp invites from other teams), barely productive vets, or candidates for playing time in Europe.