It appears that with their pursuit of point guard Ramon Sessions, the Charlotte Bobcats are ready to let go of D.J. Augustin, their ninth overall pick in the 2008 draft. A report from Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski indicates the possibility of Augustin heading to the Indiana Pacers in a sign-and-trade deal, with the Pacers’ Tyler Hansbrough among the players rumored to be headed to Charlotte in return.
The team that took the Heat to six games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last May already inked George Hill to a five-year deal earlier in free agency, but the addition of Augustin would give Indiana a bench leader with NBA starting experience. Augustin chose a bad season to shoot 37.6 percent from the field and see a three point drop in scoring. However, Hill is more of a slashing and scoring point guard while Augustin is a facilitator.
Augustin averaged almost 6.5 assists despite the fact that the Bobcats made only 41.4 percent of its shots and was arguably the worst squad in NBA history, being outscored by 13.9 points per game and finishing with a 7-59 record. It’s doubtful he’s dying to remain a Bobcat.
The Pacers traded their best passer in Darren Collison to the Mavericks, and the only man behind Hill is Lance Stephenson who has shown considerable taunting upside but little on-court potential. Basically, the backup point guard spot is Augustin’s for the taking.
Indiana needs Roy Hibbert and Paul George to take extra steps in their development this season in order to challenge at the top of the East, but the addition of Augustin will make Pacers fans forget Darren Collison soon enough.
Kemba Walker is reckless at times, but his ability to create plays and his upside as a scoring point guard makes him a bigger part of the Bobcats’ future than Augustin. Augustin is a solid player, but one of the two had to go, and the Bobcats knew their choice before last season ended.
This is why, from a Bobcat perspective, receiving any young talent in return for Augustin is a boon. Hansbrough does not have the talent or consistency to be more than a seventh or eighth man, but the Bobcats’ popularity and attendance in North Carolina would be sure to see a boost if the hometown Tar Heel in “Psycho T” returned. There is no guarantee Hansbrough would be involved, but if he's available then the Bobcats would be wise to pounce on that possibility immediately.
The Bobcats are trying to dig themselves out of a hole on the court deeper than owner Michael Jordan’s pockets. By ridding themselves of a reminder of the Paul Silas era and giving one of UNC’s all-time greats a chance for a fresh start, the Bobcats would be slowly inching towards respectability.
In a period where too many trades toss around large contracts for deteriorating players (Hello Rashard Lewis!), this deal gives the Pacers a top bench point guard and the Bobcats the chance to acquire some talent rather than let Augustin walk. The ship has sailed on Augustin and Hansbrough’s tenures with their current squads, and a fresh start for both should soon be in order.