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.

Despite their goofy ownership and front office, the T’Wolves have quite a lot going for them on the court these days.  They have 4-5 really solid players and 3 first rounders to play with heading into the draft (#6, #18, #28).
The problem is is that their best player (Jefferson) plays the same position as their best prospect (Kevin Love).  And since Minny will probably remedy their backcourt situation with the #6 pick (either a big PG to play with Foye or a SG) then Center is probably their next order of business.  Behind UCONN’s Hasheem Thabeet, there’s nobody in this draft who can step in and play right away so that brings us to our trade.

Next season the T’Wolves could trot out:

  • C: Okafor
  • PF: Love
  • SF: Mike Miller
  • SG: Tyreke Evans
  • PG: Randy Foye

That still leaves them with Ryan Gomes, Corey Brewer, Rodney Carney, Craig Smith, Sheldon Williams (if the team picks up his option) AND whoever they take with the 12th and 28th picks on the bench.  Okafor doesn’t steal touches from Foye, Love or Miller and is a great compliment to Love in the paint.  Okafor also saves the Wolves a little bit of money down the road which Minny will need to re-sign both Foye and Love.

As for the Bobcats…well, let’s see here…

Jefferson 1st Unit

They’d be adding a 23ppg, 11rpg low post scorer to the starting 5.  Diop would step in and start at center.  With the 18th pick that the ‘Cats get from the T’Wolves, they could draft someone like, I don’t know, Louisville’s Terrence Williams and bring out a 2nd unit featuring:

Jefferson Lineup - Second Unit

If both Diaw and Augustin are coming off of your bench then I think you might just be a top 4 team in the East with this crew.  Imagine a small-ball lineup featuring a Jefferson/Diaw/Wallace frontcourt.  Wow.  And the best part is…no significant payroll would be added.
C’Mon MJ we need you to go out and school McHale one more time for us!!!  Get this deal done!

Trade Scenario #2 – Monta Ellis.

Bobcats sign & trade Raymond Felton along with the 12th pick to Golden State for Monta Ellis.

The above deal isn’t necessarily accurate because the ‘Cats could only do the sign & trade (I believe) after the July Free Agency period has started, so they would have to make the pick for the Warriors and pretend that they didn’t until the announcement.

Why do the Warriors make this deal?  Well, for one they need a real PG.  Bad.  There’s been some gossip recently about a Baron Davis return to GS but I’m not sure that’s makes a lot of sense seeing that B-Diddy is already on the wrong side of 30 and has a gargantuan contract that pays him an average of $13mil/year through 2013.  Plus Baron needs his shots and the Warriors have plenty of other players (Maggette, SJAX, Crawford and the other young guns) that need touches.  Felton is a pure point who could step in right away and lead the team.  He’s a solid guy with a great attitude on a team with some questionable character(s) and after signing a new deal he’d be roughly $4mil/season cheaper than Monta Ellis – a guy who clearly doesn’t want to even be there.

The Warriors could then take whomever they draft with the 12th selection and keep them or move the pick along with a plethora of other intriguing prospects for cap space or a higher-profile player.  The fact the Bobcats GM Rod Higgins is a former assistant GM with the team and has already struck one major deal with Golden State (2007 Draft day deal for Jason Richardson) could only help grease the wheels of the deal.

I think it’s pretty obvious that this deal would do wonders for the Bobcats.

Monta Ellis Lineup – First Unit

First off, the team gets a 20ppg scorer who can play both the point and the two.  Combined with DJ Augustin, the ‘Cats would have a nice three-man rotation in Ellis/Augustin/Raja Bell.

As with Iverson, I could see the offense running mostly through Boris Diaw when Ellis is in at point and then through Augustin once DJ checks in as the 6th man.

The ‘Cats would still have to find another capable SG as a replacement for Bell when he misses his yearly 10-15 games and maybe would have to cross their fingers a bit with Sean May as their backup PF but the core 8-man rotation (including Radmanovic and Gana Diop) would be quality enough to put them at least in the top 6 in the East.


8 thoughts on “2 Ways to the Playoffs without A.I.

  1. Bassman

    I LOVE your trade scenario for Al Jefferson. Having big Al back at his natural 4, scoring and rebounding and doing his all-star thing, with Diop there to board, defend and block shots, while Wallace, Bell and Felts work the wings would be sweet! Bringing Diaw off the bench as our super 6th may make Boris pout, but hopefully he'd get over it and become the best, most versatle 6th man in the league. He could swing to the 3 to sub for Wallace, to the 4 for Jefferson, and contribute in the "small ball" lineup when necessary. We could nab a GS at 18, hopefully Williams.

    I do believe Minnesota is ripe to make some big moves. Not sure what their opinion is of Okafor but a lot of people are asking about him. Supposedly Cleveland is making overtures, but I'm not sure who I'd take for him.

    I had thought something similar about Monta Ellis, but I don't like the deal as you've got it laid out. I would not give up the 12 pick and Felton..prefer Felts and another player. But I'm not convinced I want Ellis anyway. Sure he's a scorer, but more in a transition style of offense. LB doesn't play that game, and I believe a bigger guard who can score AND defend is needed.

  2. Will

    Any scenario that has a player who has started 83 games in 8 years penciled in as a starter I don't see as beneficial.

    Neither scenario could happen until after the July moratorium.

    Emeka's contract is a BYC until July 1st, meaning for trade purposes it counts for half as much for us outgoing as it does for the other team incoming.

    The same would apply to a Felton sign and trade.

    BTW…the T'Wolves have the 6th pick, not the 5th.

  3. Will-

    Noted on the #5 pick and I've changed it in the post. THX.

    Your "83 games" comment refers to Diop and I see your point – IF Diop would be depended on for starters minutes. In this scenario he wouldn't be. The Diop/Mohammed platoon would work in tandem with the Jefferson/Diaw small-ball combo – limiting Diop's minutes to something like the 15-18 per game that he's used to.

    As for the July moratorium, yes the Bobcats are pretty much going to have to disguise any deal that would include Okafor or Felton until the moratorium ends on July 7th. As I mentioned in the Monta Ellis segment, that doesn't necessarily mean that they can't draft for someone else at 12 and then ship the player off once the deal is announced.

  4. RobC

    I love your first trade scenario. That could be very good eventhough Boris will be coming of the bench, but he's done that in the past and have been good at it.

    Still I don't like your 2nd scenario and I'm 100% sure Larry Brown will never allow that to happen. Monta Ellis is a scorer because he takes all the offense on his shoulders. He shoots too much, he has one of the lowest APG of all PG's and he is a lousy defender. That trade would hurt the Bobcats more than it would help.

  5. Larry Brown

    Not happening.. why would I want to put Diaw on the bench? He was the lube in that offense last year… and we don't need a Monte Ellis!

  6. rick

    I love how you’re really hoping for Bobcat success, but truly — TRULY — neither Golden State nor Minnesota would do this deal…

    GS would be the closest as they might take the right kind of offer for Monte, but it would have to be a different one than the one proposed above…

  7. Rick-

    Of the two deals, the Al Jefferson one seems the most hopeful but remember that we're dealing with the Timberwolves and they DO need a quality 5 to pair with either Love or Jefferson. Don't discount Okafor's abilities and value either. He's one of those rare players who is consistently under-valued by his home-town fans (usually it's the reverse).

    I think Ellis could easily be had for Felton and the 12 pick. No brainer for both teams. Golden State's biggest need is at PG, so why not trade for a reliable veteran instead of putting that pressure on a 19-year-old rookie? Do you think SJAX and Maggette are gonna listen to Holiday, Jennings or Rubio?

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