Is it a sure thing? Not at all. But signs seems to be pointing in that direction and now Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders says that Thomas is "closing in" on a deal with the Pistons.
Before everyone gets super excited let's first consider the context.
Kyler doesn't indicate that sources told him that this was so, only that it "sounds like" the deal could be happening. Also, this tweet was published just moments after the news of Darren Collison's $16 million deal with the Kings broke.
So it could just as likely be Kyler, knowing the lay of the land, making an educated guess that once the top free agent point guard on the market, Kyle Lowry, signed his $48 million deal it helped define the market for everyone else.
And that market might have proved too rich for the Kings' blood, and they quickly moved to sign the cheaper Collison as a Thomas replacement. There is also the well-publicized fact that the Kings and Pistons engaged in serious trade talks regarding Josh Smith.
Putting two and two together, a Thomas sign-and-trade featuring a bad Kings contract or two for Smith and maybe a another player makes logical sense. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it's a done deal yet.
We will keep monitoring what reliable reporters in the media are saying and let you know if a deal does come to fruition.
That being said, what would a sign-and-trade deal look like?
Well, the Kings used their mid-level exception to sign Collison so they are getting perilously close to the the onerous luxury tax line. But the Pistons have roughly $6 million in available salary cap space so a trade could be designed between the two teams that allows the Pistons to send out Smith's $13.5 million salary and take back nearly $20 million in return.
What does this look like in real life? I'm just speculating here, and sign-and-trade rules are complex, but here is one example that I believe follows the NBA trade rules and makes sense for both teams.
Let's say Thomas agrees to the original $8 million per year deal. The Pistons could also take back $6 million Jason Thompson deal and the $6.3 million Derrick Williams contract. Total outgoing equals $20.3 million.
The Pistons could then send out the $13.5 million and reserve big man Josh Harrellson at just under $1 million. That means the Pistons can take back the remaining $5.8 million into their available cap space and the Kings' fiscal picture is a little brighter this year.
There's even a possibility the the Pistons could ship out the slightly more expensive Will Bynum to the Kings, but I don't want to be greedy.
Does this mean it will happen. Heck no. But it could happen. And, man, if Stan Van Gundy can turn Josh Smith's remaining contract into Thomas, an adequate reserve big man and a flyer on Derrick Williams. Wow.