Skokie, IL 60076
Chemistry issue on the back burner, for now
Though it's early, it doesn't seem likely that Thomas -- who has been a starter and a high-minute player for much of his eight previous years in the NBA -- will get much playing time with the Bulls. Andres Nocioni, Luol Deng, Michael Sweetney and Darius Songaila are all ahead of Thomas in the rotation at forward and he has played a grand total of 32 minutes in three of the Bulls' nine games.
When asked following Tuesday's practice if Thomas can help the Bulls this season, Skiles said, ''I don't know. I don't know the answer to that.''
When pressed on the matter, Skiles said, ''You guys can write about Tim every day if you want to. To me, it's a non-issue.''
Thomas wasn't at practice Tuesday for what the team described as personal reasons involving his family. He also wasn't on the bench with the team while inactive for games at Portland and Seattle last week. Skiles downplayed that situation.
''I wasn't aware he wasn't on the bench,'' the coach said. ''I didn't look down to the end of the bench. My mind was in the game.''
Thomas was projected as a potential All-Star when he was picked seventh in the 1997 draft after a year at Villanova, but has never lived up to the expectations and entered this season with a career average of 11.9 points. He recently was named to the NBA's all-poison team by SI.com.
After missing action with a back injury last week, Thomas was asked if he was looking forward to getting back on the court and show what type of player he is.
''I know what type of player I am,'' he said. ''I know what I can do and what I can't do out there. That's really not my concern.''