The Bulls have another piece in place toward their final 12-man roster, and it's a piece that can deliver a big hit and protect franchise star Derrick Rose.
Fifteen-year NBA veteran forward/center and enforcer Kurt Thomas has agreed to a one-year contract with the Bulls, according to a source in a report by the Associated Press.
While the deal has not been finalized, according to AP's source, several other media outlets also have reported that Thomas was headed to Chicago to accept an offer reportedly worth just above the NBA minimum for veteran players, which is set at $1.35 million. Sam Smith, a veteran writer for Bulls.com, was the first to report the signing.
The 37-year-old Thomas, who played seven seasons for the Knicks, will serve as a backup to Joakim Noah and power forward Carlos Boozer, providing strong rebounding and mid-range shooting along with a toughness similar to Charles Oakley and Brad Miller. Thomas has been known to deliver hard fouls to opponents and collect flagrant fouls and technicals to back up his teammates.
While Thomas has averaged 8.8 points and 7.0 rebounds for seven teams in his 15-year career, he averaged only 3.0 points and 4.2 rebounds with the Milwaukee Bucks last season.
But during the playoffs, when Milwaukee center Andrew Bogut was injured, he played more than 28 minutes per game, contributing 7.9 rebounds as the Bucks pushed Atlanta to seven games.
With Thomas, the Bulls have 11 players signed and have roughly more than $3 million to spend toward the salary cap to sign another player, which likely would be a shooting guard.
• Associated Press contributed
The Kurt Thomas file
Born: Oct. 4, 1972 in Dallas, Texas
Size: 6-foot-9, 250 pounds
New deal: One-year, reportedly just over NBA minimum of $1.35 million
Experience: Has played 15 seasons since he was drafted 10th in the first round in 1995. Played seven seasons for the Knicks, and the Bulls will be his eighth team.
College: Texas Christian
2009-10 season stats
Points per game: 3.0
Assists per game: 0.7
Rebounds per game: 4.2
Minutes per game: 15.0
Field-goal pct.: .476
3-point FG pct.: .000
Free throw pct.: .800
Fact fact: Averaged 5.4 points and 7.9 rpg in seven playoff games for Milwaukee this past season after center Andrew Bogut was injured. In college at TCU (1994-95), he led D-I players in scoring and rebounding (28.9 ppg, 14.6 rpg), one of only three NCAA players to do both in a season.