For the casual fan of the Bobcats, you might not have been keeping up with the Bobcats latest transactions. Of course everyone knows about the big name players such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carlos Boozer and Amar'e Stoudemire, to name a few, but someone who does not follow the NBA much in the summer might not realize how much is going on with the Bobcats. Michael Jordan, the majority owner of Charlotte, has been wheeling and dealing this summer, looking to improve the Charlotte Bobcats who were swept from the 2010 Playoffs, their first ever visit, against the Orlando Magic. Here's a position breakdown of all the moves so far and what it means upcoming for Charlotte:
PG: Point guard was a key position that needed to be upgraded. After Jameer Nelson made light work of Raymond Felton in the playoffs, red flags went up to Bobcats fans that the only way the Bobcats could go deep in the playoffs was with a quality PG. After Michael Jordan let Raymond Felton walk, to a 2-year, $15.8M contract to New York, flags should have went up in the heads of Bobcats fans that something big was cooking up in the head of their new majority owner, MJ. Then on Wednesday, July 14th, the Bobcats signed Shaun Livingston to a 2-year, $7M contract. This now has the Bobcats with D.J Augustine and Livingston at the point-guard. Could the signing of Livingston mean Augustine is trade bait? Does it mean Livingston is trade bait?
SG: So far, no transactions have gone down at this position. Shooting guard was arguably the best position for the Bobcats this past season with one of the NBA's most surprising players, Stephen Jackson, running the show. Backing up Jackson was Flip Murray (who is currently a free agent) until he was traded mid-season, Larry Hughes, who was a late season pick up, and Gerald Henderson, the first-round draft pick in 2009's draft who saw little playing time throughout the year. Another pick up this season in a trade was Matt Carrol, the former Bobcat. He is a nice shooter off the bench, but could also possibly be more trade bait. Don't expect much to change at this position, except for maybe the pick-up of a back up shooter to come off the bench, or maybe a trade with Carrol. Currently, it is Stephen Jackson and Gerald Henderson running the show.
SF: Another position that is strong for the Bobcats, will likely have little changes done to it. This was a weak position for the Bobcats when talking about depth. Gerald Wallace was second in the league in minutes played per game with 41 (Full games are 48 minutes). I'm sure Gerald Wallace would not mind a solid back up to give him a little bit of a break throughout the game, although this is Wallace's position. This summer, the Bobcats did sign Dominic McGuire to a one-year deal, with undisclosed terms. It is quite possible that he is trade bait, or here to stay, but he is a solid rebounder. Also backing up Gerald Wallace is high flying Derrick Brown out of Xavier. Brown showed potential in the few games he appeared in last season, and also performed quite well in Summer League, down in Orlando. Nothing is likely to change, except for maybe McGuire, but I wouldn't bank on it. MJ may just surprise us all.
PF: Easily the busiest position for the Bobcats this summer, other than center. First of all, the Bobcats resigned Tyrus Thomas, who was picked up in a trade this past spring with Chicago, for a 5-year, $40M deal. The 'Cats also have versatile point-foward Frenchman Boris Diaw who has become disliked by a large amount of the Bobcat Community due to his lack of effort during the playoffs and throughout the season. Diaw will more than likely be used as trade bait to pick up a big time player. Another player picked up in the Dallas trade was Eduardo Najera. This was more than likely a salary dump for Dallas, and will more than likely be either trade-bait or a bench rider for Charlotte. This position might see Diaw moving out, but Thomas is here to stay, for the next five years in fact.
C: The most important position on the 'Cats has seen a lot of shifts and near trades come its way. Gone is Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajica, and welcomed is Erick Dampier from Dallas. Erick Dampier is easily the most wanted chip in any trade for one reason: His dispensable $13M contract. Any team that owns Dampier, can waive him and gain $13M just through releasing him. This is why he is such a sought after player, and the 'Cats made a huge move in picking him up. One thing for certain is that Dampier isn't searching for real-estate in the Charlotte area, hes probably wondering where he will be traded to next. Two other centers fill out the roster for Charlotte, that being Nazr Mohammed, who played a good portion of last year before having back problems, and Desagana Diop, whose contract is a burden on Charlotte. Look for this position to change for the 'Cats, likely soon.
So what possible trades are out there? One player sought after is New Orleans point guard Chris Paul. Some would think, why would Paul want to be in Charlotte? For those who don't know, Chris Paul was born and raised in Lewisville, North Carolina and went to Wake Forrest. Not only is that a big factor, but also Paul and Jordan have a good relationship and Paul is sponsored by Jordan Brand. Having Chris Paul leave New Orleans is only a possibility because New Orleans would not be able to offer Paul a max contract when his contract runs out. Again this is all speculation, but the Bobcats have the pieces in place to make a move, and signs are pointing to a move being made by Michael Jordan to get CP3. We'll have to keep an eye on the wheeling and dealing of his “Airness”, trade machine Larry Brown, and General Manager Rod Higgins. Along with getting CP3, could also mean packaging in former Bobcat and first ever Bobcat draft pick, Emeka Okafor. Okafor has a large contract, and getting rid of his contract might be huge to New Orleans considering their financial problems. If this trade went down somehow, the Bobcats would become contenders in the East with CP3, Captain Jack, G-Force, Tyrus Thomas and Okafor starting off the season for Charlotte. While this is all speculation and wishful thinking, it is very possible in the near future for Charlotte.