The Charlotte Bobcats and the Future of the Team
From a great player, you expect great things. Well, you would, anyway, when you have Michael Jordan as the head of your team.
So far, we got, a great surprise. The Bobcat star Gerald Wallace going for essentially nothing. At first, I thought this was a terrible move, but, on a second thought, maybe it wasn't.
Michael Jordan wants to redo the franchise completely, and, I can't blame him. Honestly, with Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson leading the team,(no disrespect intended) I don't see the Bobcats getting any higher then a sixth seed.
Michael wants to make the Bobcats a title contender, a force to be reckoned with in the league for years to come.
So, with the exception of the possibility of Chris Paul walking through those doors, what can the Bobcats do?
Well, I'm not part of the management, but I can offer some ideas.
This article was requested by Bleacher Report member: Focus Andeson
Cap Reduction Trade Idea 1: Cavs, Bobcats, Bulls, Timberwolves
*Note: The players are displayed in this order: Position/Name/Efficiency rating
Center: Semih Erden (10.3)
Shooting Guard: Kyle Korver (13.1)
Point Guard: John Lucas (N/A)
Point Guard: Luke Ridnour (15.1)
Forward: Lazar Hayward (10.9)
Shooting Guard: Alonzo Gee (10.8)
Shooting Guard: Joey Graham (7.8)
Center: Nikola Pekovic (11.3)
Stephen Jackson (14.6)
Point Guard: Daniel Gibson (13.3)
Point Guard: Jannero Pargo (N/A)
Why it would it work:
The Bobcats are looking to start anew, and this deal really helps them. Erden is a 6'11 center who comes in virtually free because of the Gerald Wallace trade exception.
He isn't exactly a long term center solution, but both can provide valuable minutes, and could become a solid backup center.
If Kwame comes back on a cheap deal again,that's two suitable backup centers. That, and the fact both are cheap, and fairly efficient, ladies and gentlemen, is smart management.
Joel Pryzbilla is a 7'1 center too, but at the age of 31, he probably isn't in the Bobcats plans, expect to see him in free agency, unless he resigns for cheap.
The Bobcats would be around $600,000 under the cap, and when Pryzbilla leaves, that number jumps to around $8.3 million. Now just move DeSagana Diop and Boris Diaw with similar money saving deals, and you are set for the future.
The Cavs would be okay with this deal, why? Because they get a three-point specialist in Kyle Korver whose contract expires the same time as Baron Davis. Not to mention both Kyle and John Lucas come in for free, thanks to LeBron's trade exception.
The Timberwolves get two point guards and a shooting guard. Daniel Gibson, who would do a fine job replacing Luke Ridnour, and Jannero Pargo, who would probably be let go.
Stephen Jackson would be the only true shooting guard on the team. It's a position that needs to be filled, and Jackson could hold it down until they find someone else.
The Bulls would love this deal, in my opinion. Why? The depth they get. Luke Ridnour is better then Jannero Pargo and John Lucas, easily. Lazar Hayward is cheap and efficient. Joey Graham and Alonzo Gee, these would be Korver's replacements. Both are younger, both are around the same size.
The one downside is that Korver shot over 50 percent from 3 point land, however, I think this is also a result of two things. Coach Thibbs plays, and Derek Rose's driving ability.
Joey Graham shoots 30 percent from three, and Alonzo Gee shoots 40 percent. I'd say that both would increase a few with the Bulls. Finally, Nikola Pekovic could prove to be a decent backup center for Noah.
Would I do it?
Yes, for the Bobcats and Bulls
Leaning on yes for the Cavaliers and Timberwolves
Cap Reduction Trade Idea 2: Bobcats and Kings
Center: Samuel Dalembert (14.1)
Shooting Guard: Stephen Jackson (14.6)
Center: DeSagana Diop (5.4)
Why it would it work:
The Kings moved Tyreke Evans to point guard. Marcus Thornton and Francisco Garcia could use an experienced player to help them out.
Meanwhile, Diop is an inch taller and year younger then Samuel Dalembert. Cheaper too, his production is a lot lower, yeah, but I would use him for more of a trade chip than for a solution at center.
The Bobcats get what they want on this one. They shave off 1.5 million with this trade, and Samuel Dalembert's contract expires this season.
Overall, the Bobcats would be only 6.5 Million over the Cap limit after this trade, and after Dalembert's contract expires, now you got 7 million dollars bonus.
Then as previously mentioned, Joel Przybilla leaves and that $7 million grows to nearly $15 million.
Would I do it?
Yes for both teams.
Cap Reduction Trade Idea 3: Cavs, Pacers, and Bobcats
2011 Draft Pick: Pacers
2012 Draft Pick: Cavaliers
Shooting Guard: Stephen Jackson (14.6)
Point Guard: Baron Davis (17)
Shooting Guard: Lance Stephenson (5.6)
Small Forward: James Posey (7.5)
DeSagana Diop (5.4)
Eduardo Najera (5.5)
Why it would it work:
The Bobcats get rid of Stephen Jackson, Desagana and Najera, they immediately come out of cap trouble, and gain a draft pick from the Pacers.
The Pacers get two guys who can be clutch, and are experienced. James Posey just isn't what he used to be, and while neither is Davis or Jackson, both are producing at higher levels.
Overall, the Pacers gain experience, and lose James Posey, who seems more like dead weight at this point. Lance Stephenson is young, a second-round pick, but averaged 9.6 minutes, and 33% shooting too. It's better this way.
The Cavaliers lose a draft pick, and gain three pieces of dead weight, and one young player. But hey, you got rid of Baron Davis, and those three dead weights have a contract of the same, or shorter length as Davis.
You used up LeBron's trade exception, too, so it's good for your cap space. I'd say it's a move for the future. Just trade Antawn Jamison and Anderson Varejao now, and you're rebuilding.
Would I do it?
For all three, yes.
The Waiting Game
The Bobcats need a star, and though Chris Paul is probably not the answer, however free agency is not entirely out of the question. And no, I'm not going to say that Dwight Howard is walking through that door.
When I say build through Free Agency, I mean get solid players and build up through that. For example,
2011 Free agents the Bobcats have a realistic chance at getting:
Jamal Crawford, J.R. Smith, Arron Affalo (restricted), Jason Richardson, Sasha Vujacic, Sebastian Telfair, Kris Humphries, Nick Young, Thaddeus Young.
Jamal Crawford and Jason Richardson are stuck on the same boat, the S.S. Highly Unlikely, both are age 30 and up. They would be brought in more to help provide veteran experience to younger players, but they already have a veteran in Stephen Jackson.
Richardson is still a three-point threat, and that probably won't change any time in the near future. Jamal Crawford is a sixth man, who truly deserves to be a starter.
Both are probably going to go for less money when their contracts expire, the Bobcats have the money, but it's just the wrong time and wrong place. Maybe if this was a few years ago, sorry guys.
J.R Smith and Arron Affalo were teammates this season. They have some vital differences though:
1. Smith probably isn't wanted by Denver anymore.
2. Affalo is restricted, and Denver will look to keep him.
3. Smith has a lot more potential then Affalo does.
J.R Smith gave the Nuggets a lot of energy on the floor, and he really gave Thunder trouble, hitting .429 from downtown. In fact, if it wasn't for James Harden's terrific defense, he would of forced an overtime in game 3, and knowing his ability to just go off, would of ended up giving the Nuggets a 2 games to 1 advantage.
Simply put, J.R Smith can ball, he doesn't show it every night, but I remember when the Celtics put the Nuggets in a 22-point hold in the first quarter, and J.R Smith and Chauncey Billups decided to have a contest to see who would miss a 3 first.
As I remember it, Chauncey won that contest, but the fact of the matter is they brought the game all the way back to a 1 point difference. Aron Affalo has skills, and he could become a solid starter, but honestly, J.R Smith has All-Star potential.
Anyway, the expectation is that Affalo is resigned, and Smith takes a hike. Don't be surprised if the Bobcats take a look at this feisty shooting guard in free agency.
The Waiting Game Continued
2011 Free agents the Bobcats have a realistic chance at getting:(Minus the ones talked about already)
Sasha Vujacic, Sebastian Telfair, Kris Humphries, Nick Young, Thaddeus Young.
Let's pick up where we left off. Sasha Vujacic and Kris Humphries are also teammates like their Nugget counterparts.
Kris Humphries didn't play in the last 5 games, but his averages for this year? 10 Points, 10 rebounds, 1 block, on 53% shooting. His average? 6 points, 5 rebounds, half a block, on 46% shooting.
He has really become a force to be reckoned with on court, and at the age of 26, the future is looking bright.
Sasha Vujacic is also playing out of his mind this season. He has doubled his points per game, although that's not a big accomplishment going from 5 to 10, but hey, it's progress. In fact, he's averaged 15.4 in his last 5 games, the twist? All 5 of them were losses.
Still, he's 27, and has time to progress before hitting his prime. If these guys decide to leave the Nets this coming Summer, expect them to receive quite a few phone calls from teams (Especially Kris), including the Bobcats.
Nick Young and Thaddeus Young are alike in their last names. Also in the fact that they both have tremendous upside. Nick has been scoring like crazy, averaging 17 points and 3 rebounds, he's over sized for his position too, another plus.
Thaddeus Young has more potential though, he is 3 years younger, 1 inch taller, averages 5 points less and 2 rebounds more. It's kind of hard for me to say why I like Thaddeus more, but I just feel like he has a much better upside.
Maybe it's because they already have scorers on the team, and Thaddeus hasn't had a true chance to shine. If either of these players end up in free agency, or both, you can be sure the Bobcats will want to try nab one of them (Or both, they play two different positions).
Finally, all alone, we have Sebastian Telfair, sorry Telfair, you'd just end up a backup point guard to D.J Augustin. Your numbers are down across the board, and you just don't seem like much of an impact on the court.
On the bright side, your shooting the 3 ball better then you have in your career before, and you are still a young player(Plus, if I remember correctly, weren't you injured for a good period of time?).
I wouldn't expect the Bobcats too pursue Telfair, but it would be interesting to see a Augustin/Telfair combo. Telfair has a smaller, but similar game to Augustin (If memory serves me correctly).
Building the Bobcats Through the Draft
The best way to get your franchise going is a good draft pick. That's obvious. The Bobcats current mock draft pick would land them Terrence Jones, who has been compared to Lamar Odom.
Admittedly, I don't watch college ball, but I promised myself that I will be getting into it next year, from what I do know, I personally think Lamar Odom could of been an All-Star two or three times.
I also think that if Terrence has a similar (or greater) potential than Lamar Odom, it's gonna be a bright future if the Bobcats play their cards right.
Building around a Small Forward, a productive Power Forward in Tyrus Thomas (DJ White is too), and a point guard in DJ Augustin, and things start to look up.
Terrence Jones is the question though, on his scouting report, it says he sometimes doesn't give any effort. Meaning Terrence could be Lamar Odom, as I've mentioned in the paragraph above, or he's a newer version of J.R. Smith.
I hope if the Bobcats do draft him, it's the former, and not the latter. Or maybe, just to be safe, trade the draft pick if you can get a good deal.
What It Comes Down to
Any good team, and especially playoff/championship teams, didn't get that way overnight. Even if you're LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, it took a season to get that championship team feel.
Scottie and Michael didn't get it right in Year 1, and although the Celtics won it all in 2008, it actually broke a record on the amount of games it took to win that championship.
My point is that a championship doesn't just magically fall unto your lap, nothing is handed to you, you want it? You gotta earn it.
Luckily, the Bobcats have someone who knows this better than anyone else running the show. He may not seem like he's done smart moves since taking over, but I'd say it's too early to judge his actions.
So, despite the seemingly backwards progression of the team, things aren't over for the Bobcats. In fact, there is a lot to look forward to.
Draft picks, trades, free agency, maybe Chris Paul will come over, or maybe Kwame Brown will finally play as he has been expected too since he entered the league (Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, and should just stick with hoping for Chris Paul).
After Stephen Jackson leaves, and the expected roster space is cleared up, the team will have cap room, and it's going to be mostly a young group of promising individuals.
So maybe things aren't going to turn around overnight, take my word with a grain of salt, but I expect the Bobcats to be a playoff contender in two or three seasons, if the Eastern Conference continues to have a sub .500 team slip in the playoffs.
I hope I've given you some insights, or at least things to think about for this team.
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