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updated: 2/10/2010 11:44 AM

Paxson, Thomas have always been in this together

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Yeah, that's right, it was all going to be different for Tyrus Thomas this time.

He was going to grow up and stop acting like a fool. There would be no more embarrassing his coach, his teammates and himself, and he would give the Bulls a thrilling boost and lead them on a great playoff run.

Sure, I remember now.

Tyrus Thomas back from injury in December, had learned what it was like to have the game taken from him, and he was going to be different.

He wouldn't be the player suspended all those times, the one who so consistently played the part of a selfish malcontent.

He was going to run the floor hard, hit the glass with rage, play great defense and refrain from taking shots he had no business taking.

And above all else, he wasn't going to get suspended again.

Except, not so much.

He's Tyrus Thomas, so he's back to doing all the things he wasn't supposed to do and little of what he is supposed to do.

And it would be so very easy to blame this all on Thomas, but he's always been this way, and from the day he arrived in Chicago he hasn't shown the slightest interest in changing.

You might also want to blame the inexperienced head coach, Vinny Del Negro, who has zero control over the players and little chance of reining in wild young Bulls.

And there has been some criticism of his veteran teammates, who were supposed to mold and teach Thomas. But they're no more capable of forcing Thomas to mature than anyone else in Thomas' life.

No, the truth is it once again goes back to GM John Paxson, who while out of the limelight, continues to be out to lunch.

It is Paxson who failed to find a coach and wound up putting Del Negro in an impossible situation.

It is Paxson who wanted Thomas in the draft instead of LaMarcus Aldridge.

It is Paxson who has enabled Thomas by allowing this childishness to continue unabated.

It is Paxson who fails after each Thomas suspension to deliver the message.

It is Paxson who has resisted every opportunity to trade Thomas, losing value with each missed chance.

It is Paxson who falls in love with his players and refuses to part with them, usually waiting until it's too late and then getting little or nothing in return.

It is Paxson who probably will lose Thomas for nothing over the summer.

And, wow, hardly anyone saw that coming like two years ago.

That Thomas has been suspended again is the least surprising story of this Bulls season.

Also less than shocking is that his teammates say this latest difficulty is no big deal, that Del Negro insists it's in the past, and that the team believes this time - yeah, this time - Thomas really will change.


Thomas is what he is and will continue to be such. Even when he's out of the NBA some years from now, he'll be wondering what happened to a career that should have been so much better and why he squandered so many physical gifts.

And sitting there holding his hand will be John Paxson, telling him it will all be OK.

Except it will all be too late.

Bearing down

Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said after the Super Bowl that on about 20 plays he so confused Peyton Manning that one of the greatest QBs in history audibled directly into a play New Orleans wanted him to run, or at least into a play the Saints could easily defend.

Can you think of any local pro football teams capable of that sort of defensive wizardry?

The good guys

The Wolves have donated 2,000 T-shirts to Haitian relief efforts through the Evanston-based Haitian Congress. The shirts were included in a recent shipment of clothes and bedding sent to Haiti. For more info, visit or

The quote

Ozzie Guillen on Greg Walker: "Hitting coach is the worst job in baseball. You can't hit for these guys. (Walker) works hard and does his job. If I didn't think so, he wouldn't be here. I fired Tim Raines, my friend. I fired Razor Shines, my friend. Greg Walker does his job. Hitters have to do their job."


Twins sign OF Jacque Jones to a minor-league contract.

Stopping short

Nellie from Fox River Grove: "I suppose it makes sense for Omar Vizquel to wear No. 11. After all, he and Luis Aparicio are about the same age."

Sounds right

Miami Herald's Greg Cote: "FIU basketball coach and former NBA star Isiah Thomas reportedly is a candidate to coach the L.A. Clippers. That's surprising. Then again, FIU's 7-18 record probably looks pretty good if you're the Clippers."

Best headline "Curtis Painter's dad shown zero times during Super Bowl broadcast."

And finally ...

NBC's Jay Leno: "Britain and the U.S. are proposing a half-billion-dollar fund to create jobs for Taliban members who agree to lay down their arms. If it works there, they're going to offer the same deal to NBA players."