There are a couple of ways of looking at this trade. Let’s start with the negative…
1. The Bobcats trade their most recognizable and most offensively explosive player to the Phoenix Suns for two rotation players. They didn’t get Steve Nash, nor Amare Stoudamire, nor Barbosa, nor Shaq, nor did they receive any draft picks or significant cap space. They got a sometimes productive starting power forward in Boris Diaw and an aging defensive ace SG in Raja Bell. And to top it all off, they have to send the Suns a 2nd round draft pick and include everyone’s favorite “Hustle Stats” hero in Jared Dudley. Diaw has battled conditioning problems over the past few seasons and has regressed mightily since his Most Improved Player award in ’05. The good news is is that Sean May now has an “Eatin’ Buddy” and (being French) Diaw can now instruct young, emaciated PF Alexis Ajinca in the fine art of American Obesity. “First you must layer ze mayonaise gently on ze baguette. Zen you add ze lump crab meat. Voila! Zat is what makes le magnifique Crab Bread!”
2. Back to a more serious note, the team trades a guy who averages around 20 points per game and replaces him with a role player Bruce-Bowen type who averages 10 points while playing with Steve-freaking-Nash. Need I mention that the ‘Cats are 26th in Offensive Efficiency and 30th in Points Per Game. Am I missing the logic somewhere?
Ok, enough with the negatives, what about the positives?
3. Jason Richardson is a good third option who was getting paid like a superstar. Yeah, we all loved JRICH but the dude is getting paid roughly the same amount of money per year as Chris Bosh, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Joe Johnson. JRICH is no Lebron. Hell, he’s not even Joe Johnson. If you didn’t catch the Heat game on Monday night you may have missed JRICH dominating with 18 quick points in the first quarter only to shrink in the second half and then finally choking on two potentially game-tying free throws. Joe Johnson would’ve never done that. When you fail the “Joe Johnson Test” you are no longer considered a fringe franchise player. Yeah, he’ll do his thing in PHX and score at a nice pace and we’ll all miss him but realistically with Jason Richardson as your best player, your team is going absolutely nowhere and I’m glad management realized this. Plus, JRICH’s defense wasn’t exactly stellar so even though Raja scores 9 points less per game than Jason, his limiting the other team’s guards from blowing up on a regular basis should bring that number somewhere closer to even.
4. The team now has 5 legitimate starters instead of 4. A lineup of Okafor/Diaw/Wallace/Bell/Augustin is a lot better just for the fact that you don’t have to trot out Sean May or Jared Dudley at Power Forward for 20-30 minutes a game. Diaw is an incredible frontcourt passer as well and should help a lot with the congestion once the ball goes down low or in the corners. Assuming the team keeps Felton, then you are also adding depth by playing Sean May a more suitable 15 minutes off of the bench and rotating Morrison/Carroll as outside shooters. This move should also allow the ‘Cats to send Ajinca (who had his best game tonight against the Hornets) to the DLeague in order to get some seasoning.
5. But are they finished? Is Wallace heading to the Clips for Kaman? Is Felton heading to the Kings for Brad Miller? Will the Carroll to Jersey or Philly deals ever happen? This team is still very oddly built regardless of today’s trade. Looking at the current roster you have:
There’s still that unnecessary duplication of skill sets with Morrison/Carroll and the highly-paid backup Mohammed getting minutes ahead of energy guy Ryan Hollins. If the Wallace/Kaman rumors have any legs that makes the team even stranger with:
Not sure who I’d like taking the last shot in a game with this lineup. Or even the first shot in the game for that matter. Maybe DJ.
Anyways, it should be an interesting next few weeks. Lets see what GM Rod Higgins and Coach Brown have up their collective sleeves.