MKG’s Extension and What Comes Next


Let’s put Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s contract extension into perspective: Perpetual third stringers Arron Baynes and Cory Joseph just received a combined $50 million in guaranteed money AND neither deal instigated a Twitter riot. Simply stated, we’re now living in a world where $13 million dollars per year for a non-All-Star wing is good value.

The Hornets will pay MKG that rate over four seasons starting next July – approximately three months before the former number two overall pick turns 23. The deal is one year shorter and $1 million less per season than the one Khris Middleton just signed with the Bucks and around two thirds more than Al Farouq Aminu received from the Blazers.


In 2011 2013  the NBA’s cap was set at $58 million. Thanks to the new TV deal, the 2017 cap is projected at $108 million – a 90% increase that nearly doubles the amount teams have to spend. And since the league hasn’t added any new franchises or vastly expanded roster limits, that money is going directly into the pockets of the same pool of players.

You are certain to hear a local sports talk rant (or ten) in the next week about how MKG isn’t worth close to this much cash and that’s due to many not understanding the basic dynamics of the new cap. It’s a simple conversion really: just take MKG’s $13 million salary and divide it by 90%.

This reveals a 4 year, $27.5 million deal with an average salary of $6.875 million. Keep in mind than in 2011 2013, when the cap was 90% lower, Gerald Henderson signed a 3 year, $18 million extension with Charlotte at $6 million per. So in relative terms, MKG signed for a little north of Hendo money. Bad for sports talk radio and internet trolls, good for the Hornets.


MKG didn’t have to sign an extension this summer. He could’ve waited it out and tested the very tempting waters of Free Agency 2016. As former Nets exec Bobby Marks noted in his excellent piece for Hoopshype last month, 24 of the league’s 30 teams will have cap space next summer with an estimated $825 million to spend. Peruse the list of next July’s free agents and you will find a dearth of quality unrestricted players worthy of that type of cash.

In years past, teams could use the restricted status of their own free agents to ward off offer sheets from hungry franchises with big space. That will change next July. Andre Drummond, Bradley Beal and Harrison Barnes are virtual locks to get max offers and if MKG has the breakout season Charlotte is hoping for, you could’ve easily added him to that list.

But Kidd-Gilchrist has missed over 50 games in his first three seasons with a variety of injuries. Like Gerald Wallace before him, MKG plays at only one speed – FULL ON – and that reckless energy has a tendency to lead straight to street clothes.

Kidd-Gilchrist will only be 26 years old at the end of extension and at the beginning of his prime. If his jumper keeps making progress and he can stay on the court, MKG will have another legit shot at a max-type deal. If not, he’s set himself up very nicely with over $70 million in guaranteed career earnings.


Extending MKG this summer greatly reduces the burden on Charlotte’s front office next offseason. The team’s highest paid players (Nic Batum and Al Jefferson) will become unrestricted free agents. Jeremy Lin is a near guarantee to opt out of his deal and test the market. Jeremy Lamb will be a 24 year old restricted free agent who can shoot and (maybe) defend.

Depending on how the season plays out, Charlotte will aim to bring back each of these key players. Removing MKG from the list of moving parts is huge. And getting him at such a reasonable number leaves the team with around $45 million to spend on bringing all of those guys back.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hornets started negotiating with Lamb on a rookie extension today. Throw an offer of, say, 3 years, $18 million and see if he bites. Sure, the jury’s still out on Lamb as a high-end rotation player but $6 million in 2017 dollars is just a touch over $3 million per in relative terms. It’s worth a shot.

The Hornets could then throw big 3 year deals at both Batum and Jefferson and bring back Lin at a reasonable number if he thrives in the Queen City. All while maintaining flexibility for the following summer when Steph Curry becomes a free agent. See the Projected Salary Chart below:

BaselineProjectedSalariesPostMKGEXTQUICK HITS

  • MKG becomes just the fourth Bobcats-era Lottery pick to sign an extension with the team after Emeka Okafor, Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker.
  • This marks the second consecutive offseason that Charlotte has reached an early rookie extension with one of their Lottery picks. A big milestone for an organization that has struggled mightily with the Draft.
  • Once the cap hits $108 million, MKG’s per year salary will account for just north of 1/10th of the team’s available space.
  • If both MKG and Kemba Walker complete their extensions in teal, they’ll become the longest tenured Bobcats-era players in Charlotte history and in line to challenge Dell Curry’s all-time record of ten seasons.


It was reported on Wednesday that the final year of MKG’s contract will be a player option, giving Kidd-Glichrist the ability to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent again at the ripe young age of 25.

The player option also times MKG’s free agency perfectly with Kemba Walker’s. One of the most interesting pieces of information to come out of the extension coverage is just how close the two players are off the court. While each player has their share of work to do to make the All-Star leap, both are extraordinarily high character, team-first individuals who will set the tone for the roster and organization as they mature into veterans.

By inking both players until 2019, the Hornets are essentially giving themselves a four year window to win with this roster. Expect the team to pursue similar three year extensions with Nic Batum and Al Jefferson in the offseason to complete the core.


Forecasting The Hornets 2015 Offseason



If all goes moderately well this season, the Charlotte Hornets will enter the summer of 2015 with Playoff momentum, a huge boost in fans (and associated revenue) and a decent amount of maneuverability to further improve the team towards contention.

CBA guru Larry Coon has predicted the league salary cap will rise from a little over $63m to $66.5m next July – a full $3m plus more than the current mark. If $66.5m is indeed the number, GM Rich Cho could have a some extra cash to play with should a few key scenarios play out:

Kemba Walker’s Free Agency

The Bobcats drafted two Lottery picks back in 2011 and four years later at least one is worth re-signing. Depending on Kemba’s development and performance this season, he could command a salary starting at Isaiah Thomas’ 4yr/$27m deal and go all the way up to Ty Lawson’s 4yr/$48m contract. Cho could also choose to sign & trade Kemba for another PG – Rajon Rondo for example. Either way, due to his Lottery pick status, Walker will count as an $8.1m cap hold until his situation is resolved.

Biz and JT’s Free Agency

The other Bobcats 2011 Lottery Pick, Bismack Biyombo, counts a whopping $9.6m towards the cap until he’s either re-signed or renounced thanks to his seventh overall selection status. As I’ve written at length before, this is just one of the reasons why Biz is likely gone sooner than later. Fellow restricted free agent and 2012 Second Round pick Jeff Taylor has a cap hold of around $1.2m, the same as his qualifying offer – given the small number and the team’s investment in JT, it’s likely they’d bring him back.

Gerald Henderson’s Future

Hendo has a player option next season at $6m. He’ll be 27 and will have played the first six years of his career in relative obscurity for mostly bad Bobcats teams. That’s a prime age for athletic two-way wings so I’d be willing to bet that he exercises the option in favor of a nice new longterm deal. And with P.J. Hairston, Taylor and Lance Stephenson already under contract, I’m sure the Hornets wouldn’t mind that decision at all.

The Big Al Situation

Jefferson also has a player option for next season at $13.5m and should he have anything close to the year he had in ’13-’14 (All-NBA Third Team), look for Big Al to exercise the option and get a nice raise. Jefferson loves Charlotte and they love him. He’ll be 30 at the time of signing, so I could see both sides settling on a 3yr,$45m “extension” after the opt-out.

Cody VS Vonleh

In the chance that Noah has stopped growing vertically, the Hornets will find themselves with some serious Lottery redundancy. Both Cody and Vonleh currently project as PFs and Charlotte may find that it’s sunk too many resources into one position. A big trade featuring one of the young big prospects could be on the horizon.

2015 Draft Picks

After years on the extremes (either no picks or multiple ones), the Hornets are finally first rounder neutral going forward. They are neither owed an extra first round pick nor are they owing. Look for the selection to fall in the late teens or early twenties depending on how just successful the season goes; generally a good place to pickup cheap rotation depth with upside.

Hitting the Market

If all of the above goes down (Kemba and Al sign reasonable extensions, Hendo opts out and Biz is renounced) Cho will have somewhere around $6m to spend under the cap on free agents and could clear up more room by sending back an enticing young player (Cody/Noah) via sign & trade. The recent regime has been crafty with their cap room; expect them to do something of note with it.


The Future of The Bobcats (What to Expect)



What Are They 'Gana Do Next?

What Are They 'Gana Do Next?

The Charlotte Bobcats have played their first first 8 games and have shown their small cult much about what kind of team they will be watching this year.  This first stretch of games represents nearly one-tenth of the full 82-game season and their current record looks to fall in line with many of the media projections of about a 30 – 35 win total for the season.


Most anyone that’s watched the Cats play this season seems to be struggling to characterize the team and their style of play.  Early in pre-season, chatter leaked from the club about pushing the tempo and running a bit on offense to boost their scoring output.  As the training camp concluded, it seemed that the team was simply trying to get their players back from injury and everyone adjusted into the mentality that led to their few successes last season. Defense was to be a cornerstone of the Bobcats team play and the offensive formula was trusted to Larry Brown’s basketball genius.  So far this season, no one has seen Charlotte exhibit any sort of expertise on offense or defense.  The few periods of solid basketball have come in short bursts, while the slumps of poor play have dragged across games.

Seasons ago (Sam Vincent Era), the Bobcats had several talented players but seemed to lack a core identity as a collective unit.  During the installation of the Larry Brown scheme, the concerns about the team’s identity were forgotten.  Now, in Brown’s second year, that question returns.  What kind of basketball team is this?  Right now, they are a slow, sloppy, and generally bad NBA product.  Coach Brown probably didn’t plan to lead the league in Turnovers and sit last in Field Goal Percentage.  These traits don’t really fall into his “Play The Right Way” philosophy.

In brief, the 2009-2010 Bobcats team can be described by their slow-pace, low scoring, consistent turnovers, and lack of on-court leadership.  Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton may be team Captains, but their doing little to motivate or assist their partners.  The “Right Way” offense lacks any true centerpiece at this point of the season, so defenses have yet to find any difficulty stopping the Bobcats.


For this year and the next few along the horizon, this will be a team and roster in transition.  The organization surely wants the club to improve and  begin turning some measure of profit. After five years, no one has discovered what it will take to make that happen. Owner Bob Johnson has all but surrendered his efforts to improve the situation and there’s really no need for the Bobcats basketball operations to spend beyond the salary cap to patch this clunker of a team.  The Cats should seriously consider any potential option to unload some of their big contract baggage (Mohammed, Diop, Radmanovich, Diaw, Wallace) to pave the way for some future opportunity toward improvement.  This year’s team doesn’t look to be on course for that elusive post-season goal, so this would be the period where a team’s organization begins to maneuver for better positioning toward the future.

In the short term, the Cats have several young players that could benefit from their time with Coach Brown.  This year or the next may  be his last season, so the men that stay with the team after his departure will be young, well-coached, and preparing to hit their prime.  Most of the team’s currently trade-able players should benefit from their season with Larry, and continue on toward the peak of their careers with another club.  Right now, the organization would do well to get the most in return for their “assets” and begin planning for the future.  There are no real stars like Wade, James, Bosh, or Durant on this team on which to build a foundation.  Their best bet is to acquire one via trade or free agency in the coming years.

For the long-term, the Bobcats should aim for two big-picture goals.  First, they need to get their house in order, financially.  This team needs to unload bad deals, even if that means throwing in one of their better players (Bell / Diaw / Wallace).  Charlotte’s team is nearly unbearable to watch right now, so they can’t really get any less entertaining this season – can they?  Secondly, the team will benefit greatly from the wave of fresh, positive energy with a new ownership group.  Though, things won’t magically become prosperous for the Cats once Bob Johnson finds a taker.  There’s still a lot of work to be done to create a solid, marketable on-court product.  Hopefully, the next owner will be up to the superhuman task of winning the favor of Charlotte’s public (who have outright despised their previous two NBA club owners).


Upon the shock of seeing how disoriented the team looked at the onset of this season, tons of fans have hit their keyboards in order to suggest potential fixes for the team.  Most of those suggestions are trades, so it’s worth taking a quick look at what the team has available. With the look of the Cats so far, no one is untouchable. If the Bobcats have any truly desirable assets for other clubs, here’s the top of the list :

Gerald Wallace  (Pros : Skills, Stats, Best Talent on the Team / Cons : Big Contract)

Raja Bell (Pros : Great Defender, Expiring Contract / Cons: Serious Injury)

Raymond Felton  (Pros : Expiring Contract, Young Guard / Cons : Skill Level)

Boris Diaw (Pros :  Shooting, Passing / Cons : Big Contract)

DJ Augustin (Pros : Young, Shooting, Talent, Contract / Cons : Poor Passing, Unproven)

Vladimir Radmanovich ( Pros : Shooting, Size / Cons : Big Contract )

Bobcats Say Goodbye to Sean May


Sean May Released by the Charlotte Bobcats

Today the Charlotte Bobcats lightened their payroll and said goodbye to a huge weight that would have dragged on the team over the next season. General Manager Rod Higgins released word that the Bobcats would not offer a qualifying offer contract to Sean May for next season. This ends a difficult period for both May and the organization. After selecting Sean with the (lucky) 13th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, the team had hoped he would continue to progress after receiving the Most Outstanding Player recognition for his sensational play in the 2005 NCAA tournament.

Unfortunately, May played only two months of his pro career before experiencing an injury that signaled a pattern for the remainder of his contract with the Bobcats. Last season’s embarrassingly public coverage of May’s weight and conditioning issues made his return to the team highly unlikely. Still, the Bobcats have been in the hunt to strengthen their roster at the reserve Power Forward position. There was speculation that May could have returned for the 2009-2010 season, but Higgins’ comments show that the Cats are looking to head in a new direction. May’s release comes just months after the Bobcats were motivated to move another former lottery pick in Adam Morrison last season.

As the  NBA Draft approaches, two questions are presented with the news of Sean May’s release.
1. Do the Bobcats see a replacement at Power Forward in the Draft or through trade?
2. Considering the Adam Morrison & Sean May projects, should the Bobcats trade their pick in order to avoid another mistake?