Free Agents the Charlotte Bobcats Must Avoid
After the hiring of Steve Clifford, there is a sense of change and optimism around the Bobcats organization.
There is no question they have a lot of work to do in order to become a playoff contender and this upcoming offseason could take the Bobcats a step closer to becoming a playoff team.
The Bobcats will have $50 million tied with this current roster at the beginning of free-agent season. Charlotte is the worst team in the NBA and has to make large-scale improvements in order to change the fortunes of the franchise.
The Bobcats have the ability to clear up to $21 million in cap space, so they could be spenders this offseason.
Free agency gives an organization the ability to sign a proven player who can make an immediate impact on the team, but if the money is not allocated properly, the franchise could be bogged down with unwanted contracts for years to come.
Although he is a future Hall of Famer, the Bobcats should not pursue Allen this offseason. Allen is a veteran presence with a history of postseason success, but he is not worth the money he will demand at this stage of his career.
Allen averaged 10.9 points per game this season, but that production was due to opposing defenses focusing on Miami's other offensive weapons.
Shooters do have a longer shelf life than other players and a player like Allen still has some value, but the Bobcats would be wise to sign a younger elite shooter like Kyle Korver as opposed to going after Allen.
The Bobcats have pursued Jamison in the past, but they should steer clear this offseason.
The 14-year NBA veteran has had an outstanding career, but this past season brought about a significant reduction in his productivity.
In 12 of his 14 years as a pro, Jamison averaged at least 14.8 points per game. This past season, Jamison averaged 9.4 points per game—the lowest output of his career.
Like Ray Allen, Jamison is one of the oldest players in the league, which is a major concern. Jamison will be 37 at the beginning of next season, and he only averaged 21.5 minutes of playing time per game last season, which is also the lowest total of his career.
Jamison has had a great NBA career, but at this stage, the Bobcats would not benefit from signing him.
Greg Oden is one of the biggest busts in NBA history. He has had to battle through numerous knee surgeries in his career and has only played 82 games since being drafted in 2007.
Despite these red flags, there are still rumors that he will sign with another NBA team this offseason. Mike Conley Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies told The Dan Patrick Show that he would love to see Oden playing in Memphis next season.
Although Oden would not require a big financial commitment, there is very little upside. The Bobcats do need a big man, but Oden is not the answer.
Signing Oden would cause unwanted media attention, and the constant worrying and questioning of his health would be a detriment.
Charlotte should be targeting big men like Al Jefferson and Dwight Howard instead of taking a risk on an injury-prone player like Oden.
Any team that signs Andrew Bynum this offseason will be taking a big risk. With that risk, however, a team will be acquiring one of the few true centers in the NBA.
The risk is not just with his suspect knee, which is a major concern, but it is also with his attitude. He often sulked during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers and was never fully committed to playing with the Philadelphia 76ers this season.
All that being said, Bynum can be a dominant player and will be one of the most coveted players this offseason. Although it may seem like he has been around for a long time, he is only 25 years old and just entering the prime of his career.
During the 2011-12 season—his last full season of play—Bynum was beginning to hit his stride. He averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and nearly two blocks per game.
After Bynum's acrimonious departure from Los Angeles and his subsequent injury problems in Philadelphia, people have forgotten what kind of player Bynum is—a young center just entering his prime with the potential to become a dominant force in the NBA.
If he can get into the right situation, Bynum can excel, but Charlotte is not the right situation. The Bobcats are looking to establish an identity and change the course of the franchise. Bynum is a great player, but his attitude is not the right fit for the Bobcats at this time.
The 12-year veteran had limited contributions to the Hawks this year. He averaged only 5.1 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.
Stevenson was plagued by injuries during the 2012-13 season. Knee and back problems caused him to play in only 56 games. Even when he suited up, though, he had limited production.
Stevenson is not the player he was seven years ago, when he could consistently put up 12-14 points per game.
Since those peak years in the mid-2000s, Stevenson has had numerous injuries. His 56 games this year are the second most he has played in a single season since 2007-08.
Like Jamison and Allen, Stevenson has not produced at a high enough level to warrant a financial commitment.