Player breakdown: Kurt Thomas

As we get set for the upcoming Bulls season, let's take a closer look at each player on the projected roster. It’s a roster which has been the subject of more debate and excitement than any other in recent memory.

Player: Kurt Thomas

Salary: $1,300,000

Role for 2010-11 Bulls: Thomas is expected to play the role that Brad Miller played last season. He may not have the outside shooting capability that Miller possessed, but he is a veteran big man who can still pull down five rebounds a night and play solid defense when needed. He played well for the Milwaukee Bucks during last year's first-round playoff series and will be expected to do the same here in Chicago. The veteran will be asked to play the role of mentor to Joakim Noah and Omer Asik as each continues to find his way in the league.

What happened this summer?: After Miller signed a free-agent deal with the Rockets, the Bulls moved quickly to lock up Thomas and are banking on him being a leader in the locker room all year. After 15 years in the league, the big man has seen it all.

Best-case scenario: Thomas fills the void Miller left in the locker room and becomes a confidant to Noah. He gives the Bulls 10-12 solid minutes off the bench every night and works with Asik to ease his transition into the NBA. The veteran also passes on words of wisdom to young players such as Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson and James Johnson, becoming another coach on the floor. When the playoffs come around, Thomas is at his best, providing quality minutes and hitting the occasional open jumper.

Worst-case scenario: Thomas and Noah don't hit it off and clash about various locker room issues. Thomas appears to have lost more than a step as over a decade and a half in the NBA finally catches up with him. The Bulls are left to rely upon Asik, an unproven rookie, and have serious issues if Noah goes down with an injury like he did last year.

Bottom line: If Thomas becomes a team leader and can give the Bulls a few solid minutes off the bench during key points in the season then his signing will be viewed as a success.