Bulls fine F Thomas $10,000 for "free money" remark

Feb 6, 2007 - 11:24 PM SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) - Some of the "free money" Tyrus Thomas was counting on already has been spoken for.

Thomas, the rookie forward of the Chicago Bulls, was fined $10,000 by the team Tuesday for belittling his invitation to the Slam Dunk Contest at NBA All-Star Weekend.

"This fine is an appropriate response to the remarks Tyrus made concerning his participation in the Slam Dunk Contest," Bulls vice president John Paxson said. "It is a poor reflection on Tyrus individually and a poor reflection on the Bulls organization and I am certainly disappointed."

On Monday, the NBA announced that the 20-year-old Thomas would join Orlando's Dwight Howard, Boston's Gerald Green and defending champion Nate Robinson of New York in the annual event to be held February 17 at Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas.

When asked if he was excited about competing, Thomas told the Chicago Tribune, "Not really. I'm just going to go out there, get my check and call it a day.

"I'm just into the free money. That's it. I'll just do whatever when I get out there."

Third- and fourth-place finishers in the Slam Dunk Contest receive $16,125 apiece. Second place is worth $22,500 and the winner gets $35,000. But wherever Thomas finishes, a portion of his proceeds will go toward paying the fine levied by Paxson.

"The league office has chosen Tyrus to participate in one of its premier All-Star events and that is an honor that should be accepted with humility," Paxson said. "I spoke to Tyrus this morning and am confident he understands that he made a mistake with his words and that he also understands the importance of representing the Bulls and the NBA in a positive way."

Thomas is averaging 3.5 points and 2.7 rebounds in 41 games this season. Despite being the fourth overall pick in the draft, he was not selected to participate in the Rookie Challenge, another All-Star Weekend event.

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