Let’s Be Realistic


Five trade scenarios that make sense for the Charlotte Bobcats and the Other Team


Despite a 2-2 record going into Friday night’s home game against Atlanta, the ’09-’10 Charlotte Bobcats find themselves in a desperate situation.  They can’t score points and the last time I checked, scoring points was somewhat crucial to winning basketball games.  As fellow Baseliner Dr. E has pointed out in his recaps and comments recently, as bad as the Charlotte Bobcats were on offense last year they are even worse this year, ranking dead last in point per contest at 79.8.  To put this into perspective, the 29th team (Milwaukee) is averaging 8 more points per game than the ‘Cats @ 87.7.

This isn’t breaking news as anyone who has suffered the great misfortune of watching the opening 4 games will have come to the same conclusion: This Team Needs to Make a Trade.

First off, a couple of GROUND RULES:

  1. Trades must be logical for both teams, with a slight handicap given to the Bobcats trading partner as we fans tend to view our own players through the eyes of a new parent.  Must make sense for the trading partner first, Bobcats second.
  2. I used the ESPN.com Trade Machine as a reference and the screenshots have been pasted below.  The engine that powers the ‘Cats salary cap situation seems to be a little off so ignore the team’s cap number at the top.  All trades work cap wise for the Bobcats.
  3. The Bobcats have three primary needs: add more consistent scoring, depth at the backup PF spot, maintain or reduce their salary situation.  Trades will reflect one or more of those goals.

So without further ado…

1. The Charlotte Bobcats trade Gana Diop and Raja Bell to the Detroit Pistons for Rip Hamilton



Why Detroit Makes the Trade:
This one might seem lopsided at first glance.  Why would any team take on Gana Diop’s bloated, full-mid-level contract?  If the Pistons make this trade now, they’ll be close to $20 million under the salary cap this summer once Raja’s deal comes off the books.  Combine this with the fact that the team already has a nice young three guard rotation of Will Bynum, Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon and that makes Hamilton not only expendable but, by essentially shedding half of his contract, the Pistons will automatically put themselves in a situation where they can bid against anybody for any player come July.

Why Charlotte Makes the Trade:
On arrival, Rip would become the most dynamic and consistent outside shooter in team history.  His veteran leadership and ability to hit shots in the 2nd half are EXACTLY the kind of thing this team needs.  He’s a solid defender and knows Coach Brown’s system.  And even though Rip is already 31 years of age, his game looks to age well ala Ray Allen or Reggie Miller.  From a financial standpoint, the Bobcats are essentially trading away the albatross contract of a guy who is not playing (Diop) and receiving a bigger contract for a guy who will start.

2. The Charlotte Bobcats trade Gerald Wallace and Nazr Mohammed to the Golden State Warriors for Stephen Jackson, Ronny Turiaf and Speedy Claxton



Why Golden State Makes the Trade:
Are you kidding me?  S-JAX wanted out of Oakland a month ago and the team replaces an older disgruntled player with a younger, better one.  Warrior Fanatics will absolutely love Wallace in Oak-town.

Why Charlotte Makes the Trade:
There are already rumblings of Jackson coming to Charlotte but I don’t buy the Diaw rumor for an instant.  Boris is the most important piece currently on the Bobcats roster and everybody knows it.  In a situation where Stephen Jackson, a natural SF, comes to the Queen City, Gerald Wallace is the most likely man headed out of town.  While Jackson is a more gifted offensive player, the Bobcats would lose a lot defensively without Wallace.  Not to mention the fact that no one has been more loyal to the Bobcats organization than Crash over his 5+ seasons with the team while Jackson has just demanded a trade from the team that just gave him $35 million.
The reason that Charlotte makes this trade is because Turiaf is a HUGE upgrade at the backup PF/C spots and his toughness and rebounding will be needed when the team battles bigger squads like the Magic, Celtics and Cavs.
The other main reason for making the deal is money.  Claxton would come off of the books this summer and S-JAX’s cap number is lower in every year of his contract than what the team would be paying Wallace.
Bobcats give away a more talented player but get back quantity and cap space?  Sounds like a realistic Bobcats trade to me.

3. The Charlotte Bobcats trade Gerald Wallace to the Memphis Grizzlies for Rudy Gay and Marko Jaric



Why Memphis Makes the Trade:
Wallace is still young enough to grow with the Grizzlies’ young players (O.J. Mayo, Mike Conley, Hasheem Thabeet, Marc Gasol) and play right away with their veterans (Zach Randolph and Allen Iverson).  Perhaps more importantly, the trade would save the cheapskate Grizzlies at least $7 million next year as Rudy is likely to sign an extension that would pay him at least $9 million per season.

Why Charlotte Makes the Trade:
First off, let me say that I would feel absolutely terrible sending Crash into a situation like this.  He deserves better.  Unfortunately, it is a business measured in wins and losses and this trade makes a ton of sense for the Bobcats.  They get a younger, more skilled player in Rudy Gay to play the SF spot and would only have to pay Jaric one more season for their troubles.  With the salary cap potentially going even lower this summer, the ‘Cats could probably net Rudy (who’ll be a Restricted FA) for around the same money that they’re currently paying Wallace.

4. The Charlotte Bobcats trade Gerald Wallace to the Portland Trailblazers for Travis Outlaw and Martell Webster



Why Portland Makes the Trade:
The Trailblazers have been hot on Wallace for a couple of years now and there were multiple reports of a deal like this going down as recently as this past summer.  You could see why.  Wallace is the perfect fit for the Blazers in that he’s a reliable 3rd or 4th offensive option who doesn’t need plays called for him as he gets his points on sneaky post-ups, drives and put-backs.  He’s great in the open court and could be the final piece that puts Portland in the Western Conference Finals.

Why Charlotte Makes the Trade:
Surprisingly enough, Hollinger’s Analysis really liked this trade for the Bobcats, adding 9 wins to the Bobcats total.  Webster and Outlaw aren’t household names but they are both young and talented and could start for the ‘Cats immediately.  Both guys can shoot it and financially the Bobcats would come up WAY ahead, with Outlaw’s deal expiring this summer and Webster’s reasonable $5 million a year deal extending only through ’11-’12.  In an alternative scenario, the Bobcats could include Derrick Brown in the deal and ask for Nicolas Batum in exchange.  This gives the team insurance if Outlaw decides not to resign and adds yet another talented Frenchmen to the squad.

5. The Charlotte Bobcats trade D.J. Augustin, Raja Bell and Nazr Mohammed to the Sacramento Kings for Kevin Martin and Beno Udrih



Why Sacramento Makes the Trade:
Money.  The once proud Kings are in dire financial shape.  The team is going nowhere on the court and (probably) somewhere else off of it.  Between now and the summer of 2013, the Kings owe Martin $45 million.  During the same time frame, Sacramento owes Udrih (a decent backup PG) $27.5 million.  Making this trade with the Bobcats would save the Kings around $60 million over the next four seasons and provide them with a young PG to run the floor with rookie phenom Tyreke Evans.

Why Charlotte Makes the Trade:
An additional $60 million in salary commitments.  Any chance in hell that Bob Johnson would say yes to a trade like this?  I say yes and here’s why: Kevin Martin is currently averaging 30pts per freakin’ game.  And he’s only 26 years old.  And this is not a fluke as Martin has averaged over 20pts per game over the past three seasons.  Sure, his defense doesn’t exactly scream “Larry Brown Caliber” but Kevin Martin would be the perfect medicine for a team desperately looking for some offense.  As bad as Udrih’s contract is, he’s not a terrible backup PG and combined with Felton, would make a nice platoon with Martin in the backcourt.
Oh, and Hollinger’s Analysis adds 13 wins to the ‘Cats win total if a deal like this were to go down.  Thirteen more wins is a good thing, right?


Charlotte Bobcats: State of the Roster | FA ’09



Monta Ellis and Brandon Bass would make great additions to the Bobcats

No, “Post-Moratorium” is not a medical term for examining dead people.  In the NBA’s case it means that as of July 8, the temporary hold on free agent signings will be over, new cap numbers will soon be announced and teams can start officially trading and signing players as usual.

This is big news for the Bobcats because they can now officially re-sign (or re-sign and trade) Raymond Felton to a new deal.  This would remove his current cap hold of $12 million (300% of his ’08-’09 salary) and give the team a better idea of what their salary situation is as they start bidding for leftover Unrestricted and Restricted Free Agents.

So what should Bobcats fans expect to see in the next few months before the team heads into Training Camp?

This blog’s guess is that you’ll see one of the following two scenarios unfold.


Okafor and Felton are A-OK

In this scenario, the Bobcats play it safe.
From a personnel perspective, they come to the conclusion that with the current lineup they are more than ready to challenge for a playoff spot in the East.
From a business perspective, they conclude that a team very much on the market should not add any unnecessary payroll and should keep lean heading into a potential ownership change.

If this is the direction the organization chooses to go, then expect some very minor tweaks to roster.

  • A veteran backup PF, such as former Terp Joe Smith, will be signed to relieve Boris Diaw.
  • A veteran backup PG, such as Larry Brown fave Kevin Ollie or former Nugget Anthony Carter, will be added for depth and leadership at a key position.
  • Coach Brown will continue to develop youngsters DJ Augustin, Alexis Ajinca, Derrick Brown and Gerald Henderson for the future.  Expect Ajinca and Brown to do a stint or two in the D-League.

Even if the team misses the playoffs in this scenario, they can still look forward to Raja Bell’s $5 million salary coming off of the books in the following summer and will have two more expiring deals (Mohammed and Radmanovic) heading into the ’10-’11 season.

This scenario might sound boring (it is boring) but you have to remember that with Radmanovic, Mohammed, Diop and (soon) Felton, the Bobcats will have four players earning between $6-$7 million per year.  You think they wanna add another deal like that in Brandon Bass?


In this scenario, There Will Be Ink: either on the contracts of a prime free agent and/or on the bodies of Allen Iverson or Monta Ellis.
From a personnel perspective, Higgins, Brown and Jordan decide that the landscape has changed dramatically in the Eastern Conference and that they need to upgrade or risk taking a step back.
From a business perspective, Bob Johnson and Jordan decide that the best way to increase the franchise’s popularity, attendance and, ultimately, its value is for the team to be very, very good.

The Bobcats know that they’re in a bind.  They’re a small market team that’s losing money and have around $60 million in payroll to answer to and praying for a winning season in a conference that just seriously jacked up over the past few weeks.  No less than 8 teams (CLT, IND, WAS, TOR, DET, ATL, PHI, MIA) will be jockying for the final four playoff spots in the East.  In order to bolster their roster, the ‘Cats are going to have to be daring and creative.

In my mind, the Bobcats only have two* assets to play with heading into next season:

  1. Emeka Okafor
    A quality big man who’s better than the suddenly-hyped David Lee.  Still young at 26 and a big cap number around $10 million.
  2. Raymond Felton
    Great presence on and off the court, only 25 years old and the Bobcats could pay him more money for more years in a sign-and-trade.

So, in this scenario, expect big moves to happen.  My personal preference:

Trade Scenario: Emeka to Golden State for Monta Ellis

Okafor for Ellis? - First Unit

Let’s face it.  The Bobcats aren’t going to unload Diop’s contract on anybody anytime soon and they sure as hell aren’t going to unload Mohammed’s contract until at least next summer.  They have over $100 million committed to the center position and they desperately need scoring.

This trade works because the ‘Cats can start Diop (remember that Gana started for Dallas during a playoff run a couple of years back and did fine) and substitute Mohammed for a different look.  Also, Boris is capable of playing some center (as he did with PHX in ’05-’06) when the team goes small.
Meanwhile, Ellis provides an explosive wing player who can play both backcourt positions and who can get to the free throw line as much as anybody.  Monta instantly becomes the Bobcats leading scorer and the clutch shooter that the ‘Cats have needed since 2004.
Of course, Golden State only does this deal if (or when) the proposed Amare Stoudemire for Biedrins/Wright/Belinelli deal goes down.  I doubt that Amare will want to play center every night and an Okafor/Stoudamire/Maggette frontcourt should play very well together.

This trade would give the Bobcats one too many PGs (I have Ellis penciled in as the starting PG) and not enough depth at the four.

Trade Scenario: Felton to Dallas for Brandon Bass

Felton for Brandon Bass? - 2nd Unit

Indulge me for a second.  I know that a sign-and-trade deal like this is difficult (if not near impossible) to pull off and we don’t know if Dallas still has any interest in Felton after reportedly coming to terms with Jason Kidd.  But with Kidd turning 36 and Jet Terry more of an off-guard, perhaps the Mavs would be open to bringing Raymond on board as a backup/insurance policy as they make one last push for the finals with their suddenly aging core.

The move would open up the “true” PG spot on the ‘Cats for DJ to take over and create a great four man backcourt rotation of Augustin/Ellis/Bell/Henderson.
Meanwhile, the Bobcats frontcourt would be stacked with Diaw/Bass/Wallace/Radman/Diop.  Although he’s only 6’8″, Bass has played a lot of Center for the Mavs over the past couple of seasons and could sub in behind Diop when needed for a dynamic Diaw/Bass/Wallace lineup.

I love this roster.

The Bobcats add a scoring, slashing wing who wants to take shots and a skilled, tough rebounder down low.  They have depth at every position and a nice mix of youth, prime and veteran players.  And the best part of all is that they wouldn’t have to add any serious payroll to do it (just the trade exception from the JRICH trade).

This roster is a playoff team now and in great shape 2 seasons from now when only Wallace/Ellis/Diaw/Diop/Bass/Augustin/Henderson will be on the books.

Come on Rod Higgins, work some of those connections that you have in Golden State and get this done!

*I refuse to count Raja Bell’s expiring contract as a potential trade asset as the team needs to stop their 2 year trend of dealing expiring deals for stop-gap help. That said, expect him to be traded after you finish reading this.



POLL : Who Should The Bobcats Sign?

  • Allen Iverson (47%, 23 Votes)
  • Brandon Bass (33%, 16 Votes)
  • Andre Miller (6%, 3 Votes)
  • Linas Kleiza (12%, 6 Votes)
  • Anthony Parker (2%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 49

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2 Ways to the Playoffs without A.I.


Al Jefferson and Monta Ellis would be great fits for the '09-'10 Charlotte Bobcats

For those of you familiar with this site, you’ve no doubt stumbled across a few of my “Pro–Iverson” posts.  As an unrestricted free-agent, Allen Iverson makes a lot of sense for the Bobcats as a much needed scorer.  And by signing A.I. versus trading for another high-profiled player, you wouldn’t necessarily have to lose any assets in order to bring him in.
That said, there’s been a lot of controversy with this theory and I think it’s time to offer up some alternate ways in which the Bobcats could remedy their greatest need this offseason.

Trade Scenario #1 – Al Jefferson.

Bobcats trade Emeka Okafor and the 12th pick to Minnesota for Al Jefferson and the 18th pick.

Okay.  Some of you are going to say that Minnesota would never make this trade.  Not in a million years.  I say they would and here’s why.

Continue reading

Charlotte Bobcats @ Warriors 2/27/09


1.  The Bobcats win their second straight on the road Friday night, 112-109 over the Warriors.  AP story here, box score here, PopcornMachine.net game flow here.  The Bobcats go to 24-35 overall, netting only their eighth road win of the season.  The win does give them a chance, with a win tonight against the Clips, to go 3-2 on a week-long Western Conference road trip.

2.  Quickly: apologies for the lack of post on the Kings game, and the late, abbreviated nature of this post.  Suffice to say, there have been some technical issues here at the Baseline.  Mine, in particular, seem to be resolved.

3.  With Don Nelson in full-on tanking mode the mood to sit some veterans in order to give his young guys extra playing time, this looked from the outset to be a winnable game for the Cats.  Monta Ellis was already shut down in order to rest his stiff left ankle (yes, the one from the scooter accident), and has since left the team due to a family emergency in Mississippi.  Godspeed, Monta — just stay away from the scooters.

In addition to that, Nelson announced before the game that Jamal Crawford would sit, just to pave the way for CJ Watson, Marco Belinelli and Anthony Morrow to get some burn.  None of those guys took much advantage of the opportunity, leaving Stephen Jackson, Corey Maggette and Andris Biedrins to shoulder the load for the Warriors.

4.  Despite this, the full-strength Bobcats were lucky to pull this one out.  The game was pretty sloppy and not all that interesting until the closing minutes (or maybe it just seemed that was because it was after 1 AM and I was fighting to stay awake).

The Bobcats led for almost the entire first half, then trailed for much of the third quarter.  A 10-0 run in the waning minutes of the third set the stage for a tight finish.  With under a minute left and down one, Raymond Felton got three shots on one possession thanks to some good offensive rebounding.  He finally hit on his third attempt, a tough floater in the lane, putting the Cats up one.

Over the next couple of possessions, the Cats only managed one free throw from Emeka, while the Warriors got four points from Stephen Jackson, giving them a two point cushion with 20 seconds to play, Bobcats ball.  Felton heads down the lane off the high screen.  I tense up, ready for the inevitable overpenetration and blocked layup attempt, but Felton passes out to Bell in the corner.  The Warriors rotate quickly, forcing Bell to find Diaw out on the elbow with only a few tics left.  Boris loads up and drains the contested, game-winning three with two seconds remaining.

After a timeout to set up a potential game-winning shot, disaster struck for the Warriors.  Stephen Jackson inbounded the ball towards CJ Watson, who was flashing open.  As the pass was thrown, though, Watson adjusted his route slightly in the direction of the basket (anticipating the need to get his momentum in that direction).  The ball bounced harmlessly out of Watson’s reach and out of bounds.  All the Cats had to do was inbound the ball to Felton, who was fouled and hit his free throws to arrive at the final three point winning margin.

5.  Felton led the way with 26 points and had his best shooting game in awhile: 9-16 FG, 3-4 3PT and 5-5 FT.  He added 9 assists and 4 steals, but had too many turnovers for my taste: 6.

Felton wasn’t the only one with the turnover bug, though.  It’s been a problem team-wide on this road trip.  In particular, Okafor had 4 and Augustin had 3 (in just 14 minutes) against the Warriors.

6.  These two straight wins, coupled with losses by Chicago, Milwaukee and Indiana on Friday night, have moved the Bobcats to back within three games of the eighth playoff spot and reignited hopes that they might get there.  As David from Rufus on Fire has noted, it’s going to be a very difficult task for the Cats to get there.

It looks like we’ll need to go 16-7 the rest of the way just to have a shot.  13 of those games are on the road.  While it’s certainly possible that the Cats could play their best ball of the season down the stretch against a lot of teams who might not have the same motivation to be playing hard, it’s still improbable.

7.  And bad for the long term, as I’ve argued.  Getting to the eight spot gives us a first round matchup with either the Celtics or the Cavs.  No doubt, it would be huge to garner the exposure and local goodwill that comes with making the playoffs (and we might even be able to give the Celts a tough series, based on how we’ve matched up with them in the past), but we really don’t have a chance in either of those series.

And, as you’re probably tired of hearing me say, we’d lose our draft pick ot the Nuggets in order to complete the Alexis Ajinca trade.  The pick is totally lottery-protected this year (meaning that if we don’t make the playoffs, we keep the pick).  In future years, it has diminishing levels of protection.  But with the current level of talent on the roster, and the tight financial situation the Cats (and the rest of the league, to varying degrees) are in, it has never been more important to have the opportunity to get a talented, productive player on a reasonable rookie contract.

8.  Next up to finish up the road trip is the Clips tonight — 10:30 PM ET start.