Derrick Rose was joking when he said, "I wish Kurt Thomas was younger" Thursday, but similar to how he feels about shooting guard Keith Bogans, he won't be all smiles if the league's oldest player isn't back in a Bulls uniform.
When Joakim Noah was sidelined, Thomas stepped in admirably, allowing young reserves Taj Gibson and Omer Asik to develop into a formidable big-man duo off the bench. Thomas played tough (if not frequently airborne) interior defense, subtly setting hard, effective screens and even occasionally contributing on offense with his accurate mid-range jumper.
Thomas was seen as a veteran locker-room presence and insurance for the team's inside depth, but in addition to being one of the most popular players among his teammates and filling in ably for Noah, he's also one of coach Tom Thibodeau's favorites, going back with the coach to their days together in New York.
Whether Thomas is re-signed or not will probably come down to money, but if he isn't back in Chicago -- privately his preference, as he enjoyed his time in the Windy City and believes the Bulls are close to winning a title -- don't be shocked if he makes a return to the Big Apple, as the Knicks reportedly covet him as a backup to injury-prone All-Star Amar'e Stoudemire.
So, as much as Rose wishes he could have played with the younger version of Thomas -- one of the few players in the NBA to experience the last lockout -- he'll settle for one more campaign with the current model.
Tonight's panel include Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun Times, Hub Arkush from Pro Football Weekly, and NFL Analyst Dan Pompei. The guys discuss whether Jay Cutler could lose his starting job to Brian Hoyer, question if Joe Maddon is managing his starting rotation properly heading into the postseason, and talk about whether Robin Ventura will return to manage the White Sox next season.
Listen to the SportsTalk Live Podcast below:
Chris Sale will establish a new career high when he takes the mound in Sunday’s regular season finale.
The White Sox ace is set to start one more time this season and in doing so will make a career-best 32nd turn. One of the top contenders for the American League Cy Young Award, Sale has already established career highs for complete games (six) and innings pitched (221 2/3). White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Thursday that Sale, who pitched on Tuesday, would start against the Minnesota Twins.
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“At first you can look at it like he doesn’t necessarily have to throw,” Ventura said. “But I think he wants to throw and that’s a good sign. He’s motivated to throw and just to go do it. We’re not doing it for numbers or anything, but he wants to throw. I think that’s part of his commitment to being a teammate and all that stuff. So we’ll have a pretty good lineup out there.”
As for what to expect from Sale, Ventura said: “It won’t be four or five (innings), but it won’t be nine. Well, if he has a no-hitter, it’s a possibility. If there’s something special there and his pitch count and everything and he’s feeling good, he would go. But for the most part he’s not going to go nine.”