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Biggest Trade Asset: Ben Gordon
Future First-Round Picks: Owed 2014 pick from Portland Trail Blazers. That pick is No. 1-12 protected in 2014 and 2015, or unprotected in 2016. Owed 2014 pick from Detroit Pistons. That pick is No. 1-8 protected in 2014, No. 1 protected in 2015, or unprotected in 2016.
Projected 2014-15 Cap Space: Roughly $19 million.
Although they've certainly been the bad luck Bobcats in the draft lottery, Charlotte is in fantastic shape going forward.
It starts with the draft picks. Considering the improvements both the Portland Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons made this season, it's very well possible that the Bobcats end up with three top-15 picks in one of the highest regarded draft classes in a long time.
While the Bobcats do owe their 2014 pick to the Chicago Bulls this year (thanks a lot, Tyrus Thomas), the pick is top-12 protected, so it should rollover to the following season unless the Bobcats really surpass expectations.
In addition to the potential draft goodies on the way, the Bobcats still have the cap space for a max contract next offseason, even after signing Al Jefferson this year. While it's unlikely any "true" max player would come to Charlotte, that doesn't mean betting on the potential of possible restricted free agents like Greg Monroe, Eric Bledsoe or Gordon Hayward isn't a good idea.
Point being, the Bobcats probably need to get a star at some point in order to contend, and Big Al isn't that guy. Although that signing is still pretty confusing, there will still be opportunities for the Bobcats to hit it big with a draft pick while maintaining the hope that Kemba Walker blows up or that Cody Zeller is for real.
As is, the ceiling is capped, but the floor is relatively high. A few things will have to finally break the right way to change that.