Calderon/Evans for Diaw/Chandler Still Not Official (UPDATED)



The three team trade that will reportedly involve the Bobcats sending Boris Diaw and Tyson Chandler to Toronto and receiving Jose Calderon and Reggie Evans is still not official as of Monday evening.  Bonnell is reporting that it won’t happen tonight, and cites the complexities of a three-team deal in regards to satisfying salary cap issues for the delay.  In a subsequent blog entry, Bonnell reports that the Raptors are causing the holdup and that there is still a chance the deal could break down.

The Phoenix Suns are also supposedly involved — sending Leandro Barbosa to the Raptors for Hedo Turkoglu.  Earlier versions of the story also had the Suns sending Dwayne Jones to Charlotte, which accounts for the “three team” and not “two separate trades involving the Raptors” characterization of the deal.

Here at the Baseline, we’ve been anticipating a trade of either Diaw or Chandler for a point guard, but I have to say, I’m surprised it took both of them to get back someone the caliber of Calderon.  Granted, the contracts have to match up (and Calderon has a big one — 3 years left at an average of $10 million per year) but I would have rather seen a smaller deal that sent Diaw away for a cheaper PG like Jarrett Jack, Ramon Sessions or even TJ Ford.

Getting Chandler helps the Raptors improve defensively and maintain an air of respectability this year while still being bad enough to miss the playoffs and get a lottery pick, then getting the cap space when Chandler’s deal expires to help their rebuilding project.  Frankly I would have rather kept Chandler to anchor the middle this year and used the cap space his expiring deal would provide next summer ourselves, but the Cats have essentially waived the white flag when it comes to being free agent players.

ASChin has already pontificated on Calderon in an earlier post; my take is fairly similar.  Calderon had a career year in 2007-08 while splitting time with TJ Ford at the point.  Calderon led the league in assist-to-turnover ratio while shooting over 50% from the field, 40% from 3PT, and 90% from FT.  As a result, the Raps traded TJ Ford away after the season and signed Calderon to the current fat deal he’s on.

However, Calderon (and the Raptors, for that matter) has struggled to meet expectations since.  He’s been hampered by injuries that have limited him to 68 games in each of the last two seasons.  Never a gifted defender to begin with, hamstring problems have rendered the Spaniard into a matador when it comes to defending quick opposing guards.  Toronto’s lack of interior defense didn’t help matters any.

Still, at his best, Calderon is a sharpshooting, efficient point guard with good size who excels at taking care of the ball and his teammates.  He’s not much of a playmaker, but under Larry Brown, the system will make the plays, not the point guard.  With Tyrus Thomas and Gerald Wallace on the court to provide help defense in the paint, his on-ball defensive deficiencies will hopefully be mitigated.

(UPDATED 11:55 PM ET)  Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is now reporting that:

Charlotte owner Michael Jordan has had “second thoughts” on trade with Toronto and deal is suddenly in peril, league sources tell Y! Sports.

You mean I just wrote three paragraphs breaking down Jose Calderon’s career/game for nothing?!?!

-Dr. E

Bobcats Blow Fourth Quarter Lead In Loss To Raptors


Charlotte Bobcats vs Raptors, 3/29/10

The Charlotte Bobcats dropped another winnable game to the Toronto Raptors, 103-101, on Monday night at the Cable Box.  The Cats led by six points to start the final period before falling behind.  A mad scramble in the closing 90 seconds resulted in one last chance for the Cats, down two, to tie or win.  However, Raymond Felton couldn’t connect with a cutting Tyson Chandler and the ball bounced out of bounds to ensure the loss.

AP recap here |  Box score here

Things looked pretty good for the Cats after three quarters.  No one was playing extraordinarily; instead it was a pretty well-rounded effort.  The Cats had contained Chris Bosh, and kept Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu very much in check.

But some issues lurked.  Stephen Jackson was in full-on “I’m more interested in barking at the refs instead of beating the Raptors” mode after being in foul trouble all game.  The Cats had not been able to turn the Raps over very much (10 Raptor turnovers, only 7 fast break points for the Bobcats).  The Cats were outrebounded 38-31.

Furthermore, the Cats had not taken enough advantage of the Raptors notoriously bad defense (only 24 points in the paint).  Being without the high-flying antics of  Tyrus Thomas (ankle) and the low-post scoring of Nazr Mohammed (back, still) didn’t help here, but the Raps also usually give up more penetration into the lane than the Cats were able to manage.

These shortcomings allowed the Raps a chance to make a few clutch shots in the decisive fourth quarter and overcome the Cats.  Jarrett Jack, Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu all hit big threes.  Jarrett Jack then added three free throws after drawing a foul on Raymond outside the arc to push the Raps lead to 100-93 with just under 3 minutes left.

From there, Stephen Jackson’s five straight points and the Raptors’ 3-6 performance from the free throw line conspired to make the finish interesting.  With 13 seconds left, the Cats got the ball down two.  With Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and Gerald Wallace camped out along the three-point line for the kickout, Raymond Felton drove into the lane, moving from right to left.  As the defense collapsed on Raymond, Tyson Chandler cut to the basket.

If you want to blame it on Tyson, say that he didn’t take a great angle to the basket on his cut (or that he probably wouldn’t have caught the pass if it came right to him — probably true).  If you want to blame it on Raymond (more appropriate) say that he flat-out threw an errant pass.

Whatever you choose, they didn’t connect.  The ball bounced out of bounds with a couple seconds left, leaving the Raps to simply complete an inbounds play to steal the win.


  • I’ll keep my bitching brief, because “he is who he is” and on balance, he’s been a big positive for the Cats.  But if Jack could channel half the vitriol he directs at the officials towards his opponent, he’d get that All-Star recognition he supposedly covets so much.  The Cats would also probably get an extra couple of wins over 82 games.  In the third quarter, after fouling Bargnani, getting under his skin and drawing a tech on the Italian, and hitting the technical free throw, Jack couldn’t stop yapping at the ref about the loose ball foul that started it all, eventually garnering a tech of his own.  Pointless…
  • Tyson Chandler rolled an ankle in the second quarter and left for the the locker room.  After a retape (I presume) he did return.
  • Owner Michael Jordan was back in his benchside seat and got into it with the refs in the fourth quarter when the Raps were taking the game over.  Didn’t help…
  • Shame about that last turnover for Raymond — before it he had played another really nice game with 18 points (7-12 FG, 4-5 3PT), 5 rebounds and 7 assists.
  • The loss drops the Cats to 38-35 and 7th place in the East.  We’re 1.5 games behind 6th place Miami and 2 games ahead of 8th place Toronto.  Tonight’s loss gives Toronto the season series at 2-1, should we finished tied with them.  Hollinger’s playoff odds are currently predicting that we’ll finish in 7th place, 1 game behind Miami.
  • 9 games left: 5 home, 4 away.  Next one is Monday night at home against the 76ers — follow me on Twitter for in-game tweets.

-Dr. E

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Magic 2/20/09


1.  Bobcats get blown out at the Cable Box by the Magic on Friday night, 92-80.  AP story here, box score here, game flow here.  The Bobcats drop to 22-33; still just 3.5 games out of the 8th playoff spot, but also still with 5 teams to leapfrog to get there.

2.  The team apparently announced a sellout for this Friday night tilt against Dwight Howard and the Magic, but the arena was probably 2/3 full (OK, maybe 3/4, I didn’t look too hard).  Still an impressive crowd to come out and watch a lottery team in the midst of this recession.

Unfortunately, the home team didn’t give the fans much of a reason to get excited  The Cats were dominated in pretty much every aspect of the game by the superior Magic, and were lucky to claw away at the lead a bit late, making the final score somewhat respectable.

3.  Per Bonnell, Larry Brown called out Raymond Felton and DJ Augustin during his postgame comments for taking too many shots at the expense of facilitating the offense (only 8 assists between them).  But let me offer a dissenting opinion (I am a blogger, after all): there was no offense to facilitate.  Seriously, no one else had it going, so naturally, the guys who have the ball in their hands the most are going to eventually take most of the shots.

Check the game flow or the play-by-play: of Raymond’s 18 shots, only 7 were taken before halftime (and 4 were made).  After the half, when it was pretty clear that the Magic were winning this one and the Bobcats weren’t going to be able to offer much resistance, Raymond jacked up 11 more shots (only making two).

Same thing with Augustin: he was 1-2 FG in the first half; 2-9 in the second half.

I’m not trying to completely dispute Brown’s point.  He’s right; it is the PG’s job to facilitate the offense, and if the team can’t get it going, it’s often primarily due to the PG’s inability to facilitate.  (And Raymond is a terrible shooter who shouldn’t be pulling up for 20 footers off of high screens or taking threes more than once or twice a game.)  But against the Magic on Friday night no one else emerged as a viable endpoint to such facilitation.

4.  Without belaboring the point, let’s take a look at some of the other lackluster performances:

Gerald Wallace logged 42 minutes, but scored only 11 points (3-8 FG) and 6 rebounds.  He was very frustrated guarding and being guarded by the Magic’s big forwards (Turkoglu and Lewis); and on the occasion he could get around them, he was met by Howard inside.  (Howard tallied 6 blocks, and significantly affected at least a dozen others.)

In the second half, Wallace aimed all of his frustrated energy not at the Magic, but at the officials.  He took to flailing around, trying to draw fouls every time he fought through a screen and scowling at the refs.  On a couple of occasions, he was lucky to not draw a tech.  Surprisingly, these antics roughly coincided with the Bobcats chipping away at the lead late; but it was too little, too late.  And all the energy directed at the refs would have been better utilized directed towards the Magic in the first half.

Boris Diaw had another underwhelming game, scoring 15 points (5-14 FG) with 8 rebounds and only 2 assists (vs. 3 TOs).  After a strong first few weeks with the team, Diaw has seemingly settled into the kind of uninspired, lackadaisical play that resulted in him being tagged as “overpaid” in recent years.

5.  And I haven’t even mentioned the Bobcats’ defense yet.  The Cats, probably overly concerned with helping down low to prevent Howard from going off like he had on Tuesday night, did a poor job rotating on defense and identifying Turkoglu and Lewis on the perimeter.  When those guys (and the Magic’s other smalls) are playing well, defending the Magic is an exercise in picking your poison.

So the Magic worked their overall offensive gameplan very effectively and efficiently.  Turkoglu had 24 points on only 13 shots; Rashard Lewis had 18 on 5-9 3PT shooting.  Howard only needed to chip in with 13 points.

6.  Overall, the Magic proved that they are a superior team.  Check this quote by newly acquired PG Rafer Alston, who had 8 assists in his first game with the team:

“Everywhere I looked, I had a weapon to pass it to… I think point guards in this league would love to be in that situation.  Everywhere you turn, you’ve got a guy who can flat-out shoot it or can drive it and finish.”

7.  Speaking of Alston, great acquisition by the Magic.  I had advocated trading Felton to Orlando, hoping to get Mickael Pietrus or Courtney Lee back, but wondering if the Magic were desperate enough for PG help to do that.  Clearly they weren’t, as they were able to get Alston (who is a known commodity to Magic coach Stan Van Gundy from their year together in Miami) for a pittance: sending Brian Cook to the Rockets and the pu-pu platter of Adonal Foyle, Mike Wilks, their first round draft pick and some cash to the Grizzlies.

Alston will be a servicable starter for the Magic the rest of the season, and will be a capable backup next year at $5 million — and the only asset of consequence they gave up was this year’s draft pick.

8.  One last note: it’s fun to watch a young super-duper-star like Howard become comfortable in his role as such, while not losing sight of what the ultimate goal of playing in the NBA is.  What I mean is that Howard is comfortable putting on a show for a crowd that he knows came to watch him (as evidenced by the alley-oop exhibition in warmups, the good-natured running banter with courtside fans, and throwing his shoes into the crowd after the game); but clearly knows that the point is to win games and eventually, a championship.  He has improved his game every year, is a good teammate, and plays the game “the right way” in general.

9.  Next game is Sunday afternoon at 5:00 ET in Houston, as the Bobcats embark on a 5-game/7-day Western Conference road trip.  As 5-game Western Conference road trips go, this one isn’t too bad, with Houston, Phoenix, Sacramento, Golden State and the LA Clippers on the docket.

If you’re still holding out hope for the 8th playoff spot, you’re wanting a 3-2 road trip, which is totally possible.


Charlotte Bobcats vs. Magic 11/16/08


1. Bobcats lose 90-85 to the visiting Magic tonight, dropping to 3-6 in the process.  AP story here, box score here.  The two storylines to the game are encapsulated by the picture choices above.

2. Same starting lineup tonight as on Friday night: Felton, Carroll, Wallace, May, Okafor.  May only played 13 minutes though – he still has a lot of rust to knock off.

3. The Cats played excellent defense in the first half – in particular, the rotations were crisp and aggressive, and Okafor did a nice job on Howard.  Emeka emphatically blocked one of Superman’s short hook attempts in a reversal of their usual roles.  Pietrus and Lewis kept Orlando afloat, while Wallace paced the Bobcats.  Morrison had back-to-back crowd-pleasing 3 pointers early in the second quarter, while Felton and Wallace connected on a great alley-oop later on to keep the buzz going.  43-38 Cats at the break.

4. The good defense on Howard would continue the rest of the evening, as he ended the game with only 4 points – all on free throws.  That’s right – not one field goal for D-Ho.  Pretty amazing.  Additionally, the Bobcats attacked him on the other end and kept him in foul trouble all night.  Despite the officials best attempts to observe the superstar code with Howard, he eventually fouled out with a few minutes left in the game.  Line: 26 mins, 4 points on 0-3 FG, 4-6 FT, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 5 blocks.  OK, so he still contributed with those “hustle stats”, but overall you’re never going to see that poor of a game from D-Ho again.

5. On the other hand, the Bobcats had no answer for Hedo Turkoglu in the second half.  With Gerald Wallace occupied with Rashard Lewis most of the night, and Larry Brown desperate for an offensive spark, Adam Morrison spent a lot of time at the other forward spot guarding Turkoglu.  Turkoglu ended with “just” 20 points on 6-15 FG (8-9 FT), but for much of the second half, he just owned Morrison on both ends of the floor.  Tough matchup for Morrison, as he can usually make up for his lack of speed/quickness with his height/length; but Turkoglu at 6’10” negates that.

6. Would’ve been nice to have had J-Rich tonight, as the Bobcats just couldn’t get any sustained offensive threat going.  Matt Carroll was not really able to show much in the few extra minutes of PT he got tonight (or on Friday night, for that matter).

7. I hate to bring this up, because a) it’s beating a dead horse, b) it’s totally understandable, and c) I certainly don’t miss it anyways, but I have to mention that the Bobcats have not any halftime entertainment at any of the games I’ve been to.  I missed the home opener, so I can’t comment on that one, but ever since they’ve just trotted out the drumline or had the dance team do a routine.  No Chinese lady on a unicycle flipping bowls onto her head; no muscled up, homoerotic, balancing-on-each-other Russian male gymnasts; no frisbee-catching stunt dogs; not even any trampoline dunkers.

Tonight was actually kinda painful, as they didn’t even have the drummers or the dancers out there, and it was up to the arena announcer and cameramen to entertain.  The cameramen found people wearing paraphenalia from various teams and the crowd responded accordingly (Duke = boos, UNC = cheers, Davidson = cheers, Panthers = cheers, Falcons = boos).  So again, I can totally understand not paying for any visiting entertainment, and I don’t miss the local gymnastics school’s tumbling routine, but I do have to wonder: is this happening at other NBA arenas this year?  Not every franchise is hurting as much as the Bobcats, right?

8. Must read link from last week that, inexplicably, I never got around to posting and commenting on.  It’s from the Wages of Wins blog, commenting on the dilemma that non-stars in the NBA find themselves in, using Shannon Brown and the rest of the Bobcats as an example.

9. Latest Bobcats personnel rumor: we’re considering bringing on Jamaal Tinsley if/when he gets bought out by the Pacers.  First it was Eddy Curry, then Sean Williams, now Jamaal Tinsley.  I’m beginning to think that Larry Brown/Rod Higgins motto is: “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, your castoffs and ne’er-do-wells.”  ‘Cept that none of these dudes are very poor.

And the best part is, to get to that rumor in the link, you have to page down past the story of Robin Lopez’s excellent showing in his first start of the season.  Yep, the same Robin Lopez that the Bobcats were set to draft before cowtowing to Larry Brown’s request to pick DJ Augustin.

10. Next game: Tuesday night at home, hosting the Mavs at 7:00 to wrap up the home stand.  Would it be sacrilege to bust out my Dirk jersey for this one?


UPDATE: Thanks to the commenter below for pointing out my mistake.  In item #9 above, I meant Brook Lopez, not Robin.