Gerald Henderson has stuck with the Charlotte Bobcats through his first four NBA seasons—the last three of which have been particularly disastrous—and the franchise should reward him with a payday rather than explore sign-and-trade options.
According to Yahoo! reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, Henderson and the Charlotte brass are gridlocked in contract negotiations, with the former Duke star wanting somewhere between $7.5 and $8.5 million per season.
Maybe it's something to do with majority owner and legend Michael Jordan being an alumnus of the University of North Carolina.
In all seriousness, the Bobcats simply don't know what they have in Henderson well enough to trade him yet. Partially because of that, the return value the team could possibly get for him seems dubious, thus rendering the prospects of giving him up illogical.
Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer reports that the Bobcats would prefer to keep Henderson. They should, especially if the asking price is as relatively reasonable as it reportedly is now.
Henderson is only 25 years old and hasn't had a legitimate supporting cast around him since his rookie season, when he was still adjusting to the NBA and averaged a mere 8.3 minutes per game.
Given his ball-handling ability and effective offensive arsenal consisting of a consistent mid-range jumper and a knack for getting to the rim, Charlotte would regret subtracting such a dynamic wing player.
Aside from last year's draft picks, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor, the Bobcats don't have a lot of assets defensively on the perimeter outside of Henderson.
A potential sign-and-trade scenario involved recent Milwaukee Bucks guard Monta Ellis, who was being pursued in light of president Rod Higgins drafting Ellis as a member of the Golden State Warriors, per Wojnarowski.
Given the Bobcats' needs, Ellis wasn't a great fit anyway. The 6'3", 185-pounder doesn't sport the same size as the 6'5", 215-pound Henderson and would likely have made the Bobcats defense even worse.
Henderson has superior versatility and can even play the small forward position in smaller lineups.
It's unclear which other teams are in talks with the Bobcats, but among the known prospective suitors, that's about the best Charlotte could hope to get in return.
The Minnesota Timberwolves were interested in Henderson, but that was before the acquisition of Kevin Martin, according to ESPN 1500's Darren Wolfson:
As the cliche goes, defense wins championships, and for the Bobcats to become a contender, it has to start on that end of the court.
Bringing in Al Jefferson as a free agent and drafting Cody Zeller No. 4 overall gives the front line a tantalizing combination for the future, but neither Jefferson nor Zeller are known for shutting down the opposition.
A big knock on Henderson is that he can't shoot the three, but he can defend, has a high basketball IQ and is another slasher that Zeller will definitely benefit from when he stretches the floor as a 7-footer at the 4 position. Henderson's penetration should also help Jefferson get some easy buckets down low.
The future doesn't look so bleak in Charlotte for the first time in the past few years—especially if Henderson stays as one of the cornerstones.
After sacrificing minutes and hard work in his youth while being an uncomplaining, consummate professional, Henderson deserves to be there to see it all turn around—if and when it does.
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