Jefferson and the Bobcats cannot sign a contract until July 10, per free agency rules. Teams and players may make agreements, but they cannot sign on the dotted lines until next week.
Because Jefferson's $13.5 million/year contract would break through the salary cap, the Bobcats will have to amnesty Thomas.
Tyrus Thomas' time in Charlotte was consistently inconsistent. The Bobcats gave up a first-round pick to the Bulls for him (which they have yet to receive due to pick protections they agreed upon) so they could get the electrifying rim-protector and high-flying forward to help their playoff run.
The beginnings had solid returns. Thomas was a ball of energy that could rebound, block shots and score from time to time. But he was never an efficient scorer. After the Bobcats were swept in the 2010 playoffs by the Magic, the Bobcats re-signed Tyrus Thomas to a hefty 5-year, $40 million deal, which at the least ensured the team didn't lose a first-round pick for nothing.
The following season Thomas improved, still in a bench role. He scored more efficiently and significantly improved his shooting percentages as well as his offensive rebounding percentage. But then he suffered a torn meniscus in February of 2011, sidelining him for months. When he returned, he played gingerly, cautious after his injury.
The following years have gone even worse. The lockout year was an absolute mess. Thomas suffered from stomach ulcers before training camp, lost 20 pounds and struggled to regain the weight throughout the season. The Bobcats tried to play him at small forward since he lost the strength to defend in the paint. It was a bad experiment.
And yet somehow after racking career lows in 2011-12, Thomas returned the next season and performed about the same or worse. His midrange jump shot became the beginning and end of his offense and his defense no longer had the energy it once had, though on some nights you might have been able to seen the remnants of it.
The off-court distractions have been about as bad as his play on it, from the infamous scuffle with then-head coach Paul Silas to the time he asked a fan at a Bucks game to get him a steak.
After a couple years as a target of fan ire and amnesty discussion, the Bobcats will mercifully ended the bond between the team and Thomas.
With my calculations, adding in the signing and amnesty would give the Bobcats a team salary of about $48 million. That's still a bit below the salary floor that I estimate will be about $52 million, so the team still has room to bring in some smaller signings if they want.
The amnesty provision means the Bobcats can release Thomas via waivers and his salary will not count towards team salary cap (if need be, it does count towards the salary floor, however) or luxury tax components (Larry Coon's CBA FAQ). The team will still have to pay him similar to a buy-out, unless a team decides they want to pick him up off the waiver wire. In that scenario, whatever salary his new team agrees to pay, the Bobcats will pay the remainder. However, I seriously doubt the past two seasons of his career will entice anyone to bite even for the minimum offer.
And oh yeah - with Thomas' amnesty, the Bobcats will have zero players remaining from the 2010 playoff squad who logged minutes in the postseason.