What To Do with Dampier? – Part 1


Mo Williams ©2010 NBA

Michael Jordan bragged openly last month that the team had acquired the League’s “most valuable contract” when they sent bust Tyson Chandler to Dallas in return for Erick Dampier and a couple of overpaid 12th men.  How valuable exactly?  MJ and GM Rod Higgins will have at least another month and a half to mull over the decision as they wait the mandatory 60 days before Damp, Eduardo Najera or Matt Carroll can be traded again in a package.

So what will they do with all of this “value”?
In order to answer the question, we need to first look hard at the team’s present situation.

Issue Number One: Finances.

Bobcats Salaries August_3_10

Capped out? How about taxed out. At the moment, the ‘Cats have around $78 million in salaries committed for next season. This when you factor in Tyrus Thomas’s new contract, Damp’s expiring, Shaun Livingston’s (reported) two year deal and Gerald Wallace’s $1 million All-Star and All-defense bonus. Any move that the Bobcats make with Dampier must address the financial issue first and foremost. As competitive as MJ is, he’s not going to pay luxury tax money on a fringe Playoff team that’s still losing millions.

Issue Number Two: The Roster.

The only way the ‘Cats are going to gain any traction in Charlotte is by winning, and a single first round Playoff exit isn’t going to cut it. MJ will need to build a perennial winner, if not contender, in order to lure in a broader audience. Right now, the Bobcats lack a true starting point guard and are thin at center. The Bobcats will need to both address the team’s financial situation and improve the product on the floor.


Waiving Dampier before training camp would clear over $13 million from the team’s books, bringing their current payroll figure down to a manageable $65 million. Not an ideal cap situation but the move would at least give the organization some breathing room in taking on a little salary in a trade or in signing a few street free agents for depth.

The team could then fill their starting point guard void by making a trade with, say Cleveland, using Nazr Mohammad’s expiring contract and D.J. Augustin in a Cavs salary dump. The Cavs seemed more than just a little excited about acquiring Ramon Sessions last month and moving Mo Williams for cap flexibility and a young PG prospect could be the best offer on the table.

To fill out the center rotation, MJ and Higgins could attempt to re-sign Dampier to a one or two year contract at less than $5 million per season (unlikely). They could also dangle Boris Diaw to a team like the Knicks to bring back a center or more cap space.

A Knicks trade would unfortunately return Eddy Curry (expiring contract) in exchange for Diaw and either Carroll or Najera. Now would be a good time for me to explain that I’m not writing about what I’d like to see, but rather what is most likely.
The ‘Cats have shown an unhealthy interest in Curry over the years and it wouldn’t surprise me if they made this move. A center platoon of Curry and Gana Diop sounds absolutely terrible and it probably would be but both of those players have complementary skill sets if either is up for putting forth an actual effort.
Though it is noteworthy that Curry has played a total of 74 minutes in the past two NBA seasons.

Another possible destination for Diaw would be Golden State, given Higgins (now limited) connections there and Don Nelson’s (if he returns) love of the small ball. Perhaps Higgins could manufacture a Diaw / Andris Biedrins swap? Biedrins is very much on the trading block but the Bobcats would have to be certain that a somewhat undersized 24 year old Russian, who’s owed $36 million over the next four seasons is the longterm answer in the middle.

Issue Number One: Solved.
Bobcats Baseline - Salaries, Dampier Decision Part 1

In this scenario, the Bobcats would be safely under the League’s luxury tax for the next three seasons (albeit capped out) with the ability to sign a couple of veteran minimum free agents (see Flip Murray, Stephen Graham) as needed for injury replacements/depth.

Issue Number Two: Solved(?).

Bobcats Baseline - Dampier Decision Part 1

So basically we’re taking a 44 win team and replacing Diaw, Raymond Felton, Augustin, Chandler and Mohammed with Biedrins, Mo Williams, Shaun Livingston and a full season of Tyrus Thomas. At the very least, the team should replicate their ’09-’10 success and could possibly build on it as Williams’ consistent shooting and Playoff experience will slightly upgrade the point guard position. A Biedrins/Diop platoon could work well against the majority of the League’s centers (outside of maybe Dwight Howard and Yao Ming) and Livingston is a massive upgrade at the backup point.
The key factor here is Tyrus Thomas. He and Diaw are completely different players. Diaw was an unheralded on-the-ball defender who could occasionally explode for 20 plus points per game while extending the defense with his three point shooting. Tyrus works more like a taller Gerald Wallace, grabbing rebounds, blocking shots and relying on either put-backs or a steady fifteen footer for his offense. If Coach Brown can do for Thomas what he did for Crash, Bobcats fans will be in for a quite treat.


Coming Soon…

Until then, Enjoy the Offseason Bobcats Fans.


53 thoughts on “What To Do with Dampier? – Part 1

  1. reggie

    i think mo would help out alot. he can shoot and run a team and i think he jack crash and tt would be a very good lineup. we just need someone to crash boards and block some shots and who can catch the ball at center

  2. Jared-

    I would have never believed that the 'Cats would've traded Chandler's expiring for $18.5 million of Eduardo Najera and Matt Carroll but they did.

    We've heard a lot of whispers over the years about Curry. Wouldn't be surprised if they dealt for him at all, especially if they can get either Carroll or Najera's longer term deals off the books as well.

  3. Jody

    @Dr. E
    Are you guys going to do a podcast? I think the readers of Bobcats Baseline would enjoy hearing you guys discuss the upcoming season and offseason acquistions. By the way, can you imagine if we had this type of media interaction when we were Hornets fans back in 1989? It would have been an authentic and meaningful experience.

  4. Jared

    I haven't heard any of the whispers about Curry. Link em if you got em. I have heard Curry disccused on blogs, but that hardle counts. The Chandler trade wasn't a basketball decision but a salary dump. It may not make many of us happy, but there is at least a reason for it.

    Also, I'd love to hear a podcast too.

  5. Jeremy Hipps

    If we can trade Diaw for Eddy Curry I am all for it he is a perfect compliment to TT if he can get in shape to play

  6. Tyler

    but if that trade was just a way to save money i mean thats all Bob Johnson and George Shinn ever did and look where it got us i mean shouldnt MJ be worried about making this team champions and not saving money?

  7. RobC

    The top three more realistic trade scenarios right now are any compbination of:

    1.) Mo Williams
    2.) Monta Ellis
    3.) Andris Biedrins
    4.) Anderson Varejao
    5.) Gilbert Arenas (not sure how realistic this is)
    6.) Andray Blatche or Javale McGee (this depends on #5)

    For any combination of Boris Diaw, Erick Dampier, Nazr Mohammed, Matt Carroll, Eduardo Najera and maybe DJ Augustin.

    If the Bobcats trade for a big contract like Arenas, and MJ is smart, there might be some way they can add Gana Diop’s contract in that deal, specially if McGee or Blatche are not included.

    For instance: Dampier-Najera-Diop-DJ for Arenas, then Diaw for Biedrins. Najera Becomes an expiring contract next season, DJ can be a really good backup to Wall and they still save over $40M in current and future cap space. The Bobcats will clear $7M in this deal and stay under the Luxury Tax.

    Then they can sign cheap contracts like: Flip Murray, Stephen Graham, Lois Amundson and Josh Boone to fill up the roster.


    That is a better team than the one we had last season. And Nazr will come off the books next season, which will give the Bobcats some breathing room while being highly competitive and decently deep at every position.

  8. justin

    Don't like this move…but I don't know. Either means they they are stacking the roster for a big move, or the PGs on this team are going to be DJ, Livingston and Hughes as the third back-up if needed.

  9. RobC

    In my prior comment I stated that the Bobcats could sign Flip Murray, however…ESPN Insider is reporting that Charlotte is interested in bringing back Larry Hughes!!!

  10. Mark

    I doubt they deal Biedrens, but I would be very happy with the proposed scenario of Biedrens and Williams joining our new “Key 3″. PLEASE get this done MJ.

  11. Brandon

    Is it true we signed sherron Collins? I hord it at work today.
    And I say do the trade for the Russian for the Frenchman. But let’s giv edj the first half of the season to see what he can do

  12. RobC

    The signing of Sheron Collins means 1 if 2 things. Either the Bobcats are going into the season with those three PG’s or DJ will be part of a bigger deal that might include Dampier and Boris. After all, DJ, Diaw and Dampier are a trio of very good assets ($24M+, just $11M+ guaranteed) that could bring something worthy back to Charlotte. After all DJ is the only PG the Bobcats can trade before December.

  13. Leroy

    interesting enough

    players that we've discussed above like Darren Collison, Baron Davis and Andris Biedrins are his clients…


    can this mean something?

  14. justin

    I'm holding out hope that something happens once this 60 day period is up for trading Dampier. I think he's ultimately going to wave him to relieve some cap space and then make a trade at that point…but MJ is holding on to him until that point, just to be sure there's nothing out there that will work with a trade with Dampier included. Just my 2 cents.

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