Offseason Prescriptions for the Capped-Out Cats (Part 2)


Chapter II: Prescription A (Simple & Clean)

In part one of my Capped-Out Cats column, I soberly laid out the current Bobcats salary cap situation in order to highlight the tight financial quarters which the team currently operates under. We as fans cannot realistically prognosticate the team’s ability to improve itself without first having a realistic understanding of what it is up against. Or, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put it, “Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.”

Thus far we’ve identified the team’s salary situation (nearly capped out with two key free agents yet to re-sign) and we’ve established the team’s needs moving forward into next season (starting PG, traditional low-post presence, bench scoring). The challenge is to find a way to accomplish them both:


Step 1. Charlotte trades Boris Diaw to Chicago for Kirk Hinrich.

Can’t think of a more eloquent trade for both teams. The Bulls currently employ only six players, three of which are starters (Deng, Noah and Rose) and will be making a run at one of the top free agents in the League this summer (potentially Lebron James or Joe Johnson). Diaw starts for the Bulls immediately (or is the team’s sixth man in case of a Bosh or Boozer signing) and allows Derrick Rose to play off the ball in certain situations. Also, Diaw and Hinrich have nearly identical contracts (Boris is due an extra million in ’11-’12) and nearly matching PERs (Hinrich: 11.61, Diaw: 12.80).

For Charlotte, the deal nets them a tough defending starting point guard without having to go over the cap to sign one on the open market. While Hinrich isn’t going to any All-Star games, he’s at least Raymond Felton’s equivalent (especially in the five seasons proceeding Derrick Rose’s arrival) and is big enough at 6’3” to move over to shooting guard for a few minutes a game when needed. Hinrich isn’t a pure point in the mold of a Steve Nash or Chauncey Billups but won’t need to be on a team that runs its offense through shooting guard Stephen Jackson.
Again, the overwhelming positive of this trade is that it allows the Bobcats to maintain a player of comparable quality at the point without having to add a dime to the payroll.

Step 2. Re-sign Tyrus Thomas.


At current market value, I can’t see Tyrus commanding anything north of 3 years $18 million. The Hinrich trade makes re-signing Tyrus much easier by a.) allowing the team to match a poison pill offer should another team extend one and b.) freeing up a starting spot for Thomas – thus making the idea of returning to Charlotte that much more enticing. A best case scenario would have Tyrus sign an incrementally escalating deal (see chart below) that would start at $5.5 million.

Step 3. Sign or trade for a backup power forward.

After making the moves for Hinrich and Thomas, the ‘Cats will have a little less than $4 million to sign a free agent backup PF. The team is in desperate need of a low post scorer who can battle for rebounds down low. At this price point, there’s not a lot of options. One could be Drew Gooden, who signed a one year partially guaranteed $4.5 million deal with the Mavericks last summer and was traded to the Clippers midseason for his efforts. A two year deal (either fully or partially guaranteed) at $7 million might get his attention. A more under-the-radar prospect would be New Jersey’s Kris Humphries who impressed often on a bad team. Humphries is a beast of rebounder down low (averaging almost six and a half boards in twenty minutes of action) and is a bit of a black hole when he gets the ball in the low post. Basically, he’s the anti-Boris Diaw and that sort of style could mesh well with Larry Brown’s Bobcats.
Another option for the Bobcats is to add power forward depth via trade. While I don’t like the idea of the team trading away expiring contracts in this Prescription, one such deal could have the team ship off Nazr Mohammed and the last remaining year of his contract ($6.8 million) to the Sacramento Kings for bruiser Andres Nocioni ($6.8 million in ’10-’11, $6.6 in ’11-’12).
The negative in this scenario would be adding another mid-level salary contract year for a mediocre player in 2011-2012 but Nocioni’s toughness and ability to play both forward spots combined with the cost savings of making a cap neutral trade might swing the Bobcats into making the deal. Add in the fact that the ‘Cats could then use the remaining $3.5 million on re-signing veterans Flip Murray and Theo Ratliff to minimum deals and the trade could provide much more than it costs.



In this Prescription, the Bobcats manage to re-sign Tyrus Thomas, add a comparably talented starting Point Guard in Kirk Hinrich, find a low post bruising backup forward in Andres Nocioni and make good on last year’s mistake of trading away Flip Murray. Amazingly, they could do all of this while CUTTING SALARY (nearly $2 million) from last year’s payroll while keeping all of their young players (Augustin, Ajinca, Henderson and Brown) and key veterans.

The team’s depth chart looks like:

PG: Hinrich, Augustin, Murray
SG: Jackson, Hinrich, Henderson, Murray
SF: Wallace, Brown
PF: Thomas, Nocioni
C: Chandler, Ratliff, Diop, Ajinca

NEXT UP: PRESCRIPTIONS B + C (Not for the Faint of Heart).


21 thoughts on “Offseason Prescriptions for the Capped-Out Cats (Part 2)

  1. spectre

    I can stomach the Boris for Hinrich trade…that's probably about the best case scenario in staying near the status quo at the 1…but I'm not liking the PF rotation much at all.

    Hinrich's last season before Rose (and after he signed that fat contract) only had a PER of 13.1. Tho I do believe him having to play next to Rose has hurt his numbers I think he started showing slippage even before.

    Still…not a problem with that one.

    TT starting? Man that's a risk. Then on top of that we bring in Nocioni…all of 6'-7" and 225 lbs…to be our primary backup at the 4?

    Either way we could still do your first move and trade Nazr for another PF.

    This group would at least have a credible shot at not letting us slide from a talent standpoint, but the main issue I see will be lack of ball movement.

    I totally dislike the idea of running the offense thru Jax, and if that's the primary plan I think we're going to get worse regardless. Larry Brown kept on and on in his end of season presser about how the ball stopped once it hit Jax' hands in the playoffs. I'm thinking that if we go away from the point/forward rotation then we need a distributing PG.

  2. Jared

    Noc is a little undersized, but I'm still holding out hope that Ajinca can put up enough offense to play a little at the 4

  3. B dog

    What if……

    We trade Thomas to Denver for JR smith then trade capt Jack for David lee and resign Felton and sign raja bell..






  4. leroy

    B dog…

    i don't think we will have any consistent scoring option going with this squad….jr could be good but I dont think he is an ideal starting SG for any team. he is a killer off the bench though.

  5. Cheese

    @B dog and Homeboi…

    The problem with both of your scenarios is that Lee and Bosh both would have to be aquired in a sign and trade, which means they would have to agree to forgo free angency and agree to be traded to the Bobcats. Don't give that a chance in hell. Unfortunately Charlotte is not a desired location for most players.

    I doubt this will be popular with Bobcats fans but I would rather see them trade S Jax and/or Diaw for expiring contracts with the intent of tanking next season. Then you'd have Mohammed, Chandler, and whoever they traded for coming off the books in the summer of 2011. If all went right in the tanking process they would have a top draft pick (Harrison Barnes anyone?) and plenty of cap space to persure free agents in the summer of 2011.

  6. Jake

    I think the Bulls would be much more interested in a Hinrich-Mohammed deal. Not only are they getting an expiring contract, but they shed enough payroll off of this upcoming year's books to sign another max contract free agent. We get the PG that we need, and they get the money they need.

    Oh, and Homeboi….

    We don't have the money to get Bosh, period. We don't have the money to get David Lee, like B Dog suggested either.

  7. Jake


    I think blowing this team up is the very last thing we should do. At the bare minimum, we should hold pretty much what this article has us doing: replacing Felton. We made it to the playoffs with this squad, and can do it again next year. We had the misfourtune of running into the Magic, but what #2 team really shouldn't be able to sweep the #7 team?

    The fanbase is finally starting to show up, and people are showing interest in this team. Do you think that would carry over if we were to blow the team up and try to start from scratch? Of course not. If we're not going to make moves that make us clearly better now, then we need to tread water. Maybe that makes our future a little less bright than what you've proposed, but I feel the Bobcats' present is much more important than their future right now.

  8. Brandon

    Honestly I dnt think We need to do much. I like the heinrich idea maybe nazr and augistin and have Felton off the bench? And then somehow bring in some help at PF. Any ideas?

  9. leroy


    by no means….whether augustin is good or not in the future. i would like to bet on him instead of having two guards that are over 26. the club had lost enough during the draft….shouldn’t give up another MAYBE prospect via any trades except we get a superstar which is doubtful.

  10. spectre

    leroy…regardless of how we acquired any player it's not smart to hang onto anyone not pulling their weight longer than we need to.

    We held onto Ammo longer than we should have (shouldn't have even drafted him, but that's another debate) and we got squat for him. Actually, we had to include another player AND take on more salary.

    In DJ's case I have no problem hanging onto him as a competent backup would probably cost as much and we know DJ's baggage. If he can be included in a package to improve the club then we absolutely must do it.

    Why is having 2 PGs over 26 a problem? Personally I wouldn't want 2 PGs making over 10 million combined, but ignoring salary I don't see why having 2 vet PGs wouldn't be a good thing.

  11. Mike

    Small simple changes can make a huge difference. Don't resign Felton resignTT sign raja trade diaw and someone else for a reliable PG and sign a backup PF. Then keep the team the whole season! That way there aren't chemistry changes like there's been the past 2 seasons

  12. Jared


    Overpaid, that's a thought.

    Here's another, Hedo won't be happy until he's playing w/ a guy who commands as much attention as D12.

  13. Dymdropper

    Problem the Cats face at the PF spot is, do we want TT who can jump out of the gym and put people in the seats to watch him maybe get a nasty dunk? or, do we trade for a not so flashy kind of PF like sayyyyy maybe, Jason Thompson or Marreeise Speights? Jason Thompson would make more sense because he is a monster rebounder when he is allowed to play.. speights has a decent mid range and can stretch the floor a bit with it and is an above average rebounder.. I think that if we offered the Kings Diaw plus Nazr and got back Thompson and maybe nocioni or work a 3 team trade with a team that has cap room..

  14. Sara

    THe hawks are selling 19th pik for 3 mil possibly draft bledsoe? Or Memphis trying to trade all 3 1st picks. Any ideas????

  15. Mark

    I say buy two early to mid 2nd round picks and draft Tim Ohlbrech tGermany And mikhail Torrance out of Alabama a 6 11 pf and a 6 5 pg both with tremendous upside

  16. nick

    I say let nazr mohammed start at center..release or trade chandler….and aquire chris paul…
    Starting 5

    C-Nazr Mohammed- good rebounder and good teamate
    F-Tyrus Thomas-great shot blocker and good scorer down low
    F-Gerald Wallace-The best player on the team
    G-Stephen Jackson-Leading scorer and tall body with a lockdown defense.
    G-D.J. Augustin-young raw tallent that could start if they dont aquire a point guard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *