Charlotte Bobcats Waive Erik Dampier for Cap Relief: An Offseason of Decline

Chuck FortContributor ISeptember 14, 2010

Erik Dampier was acquired by the Bobcats in a trade this off-season.
Erik Dampier was acquired by the Bobcats in a trade this off-season.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Charlotte Bobcats have waived veteran center Erik Dampier to cut salary below the luxury tax line.

Dampier was acquired in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks this offseason.  He, along with forward Eduardo Najera and guard Matt Carroll, went to Charlotte in exchange for center Tyson Chandler and forward/center Alexis Ajinca.

Essentially, the Bobcats traded the 2004 No. 2 overall pick and a 2010 first-rounder for Eduardo Najera and Matt Carroll, a former Bobcat.

Center Emeka Okafor was selected with the No. 2 pick in 2004 and traded to New Orleans last offseason for Tyson Chandler. The Bobcats acquired a second first round pick in 2008 by trading away their first round pick in 2010.  That pick was used for Alexis Ajinca, No. 20 overall in 2008.

Unfortunately for new owner Michael Jordan, Najera and Carroll won't win a championship for Charlotte.

Jordan's first offseason as owner has been full of unique moves.  Charlotte failed to re-sign starting point guard Raymond Felton after failing to come to terms on a deal.  Instead, the Bobcats signed injury-prone Shaun Livingston, who has failed to find a home in the NBA and turned the starting job over to DJ Augustin, who regressed significantly in his second season.

Another journeyman, Darius Miles, has been given an opportunity by the Bobcats to earn a roster spot.  Miles' career has been full of negative headlines from verbal confrontations with his coach, substance abuse, and a career-ending injury that didn't end his career.

But the signing of Kwame Brown has to be one of the most outlandish transactions in the league this offseason.  Brown was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft by the Wizards with Jordan as Director of Basketball Operations.  Brown is heralded as one of the biggest draft busts of all time.  Apparently, Jordan is not ready to give up on him after 10 disappointing seasons with five different teams.

Charlotte now faces serious questions at both point guard and center.  The other spots will be manned by a combination of Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw, and Tyrus Thomas, but the lack of a strong point guard will not fare well under Coach Larry Brown's system.

With all the other offseason moves, the balance of power in the NBA has shifted to the Eastern Conference.  That may prevent the Bobcats from making the playoffs in 2010-2011 after tasting the post-season this year for only the first time in franchise history.

Or maybe the Bobcats have another deal up their sleeves that might actually improve the team for a change.