1. Positive Spin: The ‘Cats got their man. All 7’0″ 280lbs, $32million of him. In exchange Charlotte sends Dallas reserve guard Matt Carroll and former 2nd Round pick Ryan Hollins. Diop immediately brings size AND athleticism to the frontcourt and allows Coach Brown to matchup with the most physical, biggest lineups in the League. It also provides insurance and depth in case Okafor goes down with an injury for any length of time.
2. A lot of Raymond Felton fans are breathing a sigh of relief today. A lot of love being spread out there for Latta’s favorite son and now we know that Felton will still be on the roster for at least another game. This still doesn’t mean that he’s not being shopped. For one, he’s still going to be a free agent this summer. Second, Charlotte just took on $20+ million in a guaranteed contract for a big man while NOT sending back Nazr Mohammed. So look forward to the ‘Cats trying to move Mohammed before the deadline using Felton’s talent and expiring deal as the bait.
3. Matt Carroll was really sucking it up this season. For a guy who earned his contract shooting the basketball, Matt was raining it in at a career low 40% from the field this season (26% from 3–ouch). His +/- ranking for the year is a telling -7.3 which is, yes Bobcats fans, worse than Adam Morrison’s. So now that Carroll has a new opportunity to get open looks off Dirk double-teams in Dallas, AMMO should finally get consistent minutes off the bench as the primary scorer/shooter. It should be interesting to see what both players can do with the opportunity.
4. Negative Spin: The biggest negative from this deal by far is from a cap perspective. The ‘Cats will pay Diop roughly $11million more over the course of his contract than Carroll. Combine this with Mohammed’s deal and Charlotte has $20million on the books over the next two seasons dedicated to their backup centers. If the ‘Cats can’t find someone willing to take back Nazr’s deal before the summer of 2010, they’ll essentially be out of the free agent race entirely. Is there a more obnoxious contract in the NBA? Not only does Nazr make about $2.5 million more per year than he should, his contract goes inconveniently until 2011. Did Dumars punk Higgins on this deal or what?
4. Another negative is that Ryan Hollins was included as a throw-in. Hollins showed a lot of improvement in his limited minutes early this season and actually leads the team in plus-minus. He’s young, athletic, energetic and fun to watch. I guess that the team is so heavily invested in Ajinca that they decided one of the raw bigs had to go. Just like Morrison, it will be very interesting to see what Alexis can do with the opportunity.
5. Conclusion: Bonnell says it best in his blog. “They don’t act like a team that is out of the playoff race; good – nice to see they’re not giving up.” Regardless if this is the greatest move in the world or not, it’s encouraging to see that the organization is actively trying to get better. Can Coach Brown work his magic yet again? Will we see the team make a huge run into the spring and squeeze in to the playoffs?