In 2010, Thomas signed a five-year, $40 million deal with the Bobcats. He has two years and about $19 million left on his contract.
Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in 2011, each team has the option to use a one-time amnesty to waive a player off its roster. The player had to be under contract with the team at the time that the new CBA was signed, though.
Thomas still will be paid the money owed in his deal, but his salary comes off Charlotte's salary cap. That means the team can absorb the reported $13.5 million a year that Jefferson just signed for. So the Bobcats will remain under the cap and could make a run at another free agent or two.
Thomas, 26, last season averaged 4.8 points -- the lowest total of his seven-year NBA career -- and 2.3 rebounds in only 26 games. He struggled with a calf injury for much of the season along with just getting buried on Charlotte's bench.
Now that Thomas has been amnestied, he can be claimed on waivers. But a team that does so takes on his current contract. So with that being extremely unlikely, Thomas will become an unrestricted free agent once he clears waivers.