2011 Free Agent Targets Who Fit The Plan



Okay, you’re the Charlotte Bobcats. It’s December two thousand and ten. You’re saddled with a capped out payroll. Your attendance is improving but still less than stellar. Your two best, highest paid players play the easiest positions to fill in the modern game and your hall of fame coach’s best years are far behind him. Whaddya do? Keep paying sixty million dollar salaries and hope your team is gonna win a game or two as an eighth seed? Of course not, you blow it up and start from scratch. Go cheap and young and hope you land one the decade’s defining players in the draft. It’s as simple as that.

Thanks Hubie. And thanks MJ, Rod Higgidy-Higgins and Rich Cho (not to be confused with his Charlottean peer, “Rich Chode”) for heeding said hypothetical advice because now, Bobcats fans, there is finally a plan for building a successful basketball franchise in Carolina. Now, I don’t pretend to have any inside info into the mind of Cho & Company but it doesn’t take an Emeka Okafor-sized intellect to get an idea of what they’re up to:

STEP 1: Develop young players on the roster to either build around long-term or dangle as juicy trade bait.

Gerald Henderson, D.J. Augustin, Tyrus Thomas, Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker please go over to the blue line. Dante Cunningham and D.J. White may as well go ahead and join them – just please, Dante, put that half ounce sack of dank away somewhere where I can’t see it.

STEP 2: Tank the ’11-’12 semi-season.

Related to the step above, be fun to watch but terrible in the win column. Basically the opposite of Riley’s Knicks/Heat teams of the ’90s. Kind of an East Coast version of the Warriors.

STEP 3: Get a high pick in a stacked 2012 Lottery.

Worse case scenario, you draft in the top 5 and where there are potentially five or six game-changers (Davis, Barnes, Sullinger, Gilchrest, Perry & Terrence Jones).

STEP 4: Shed salary next summer.

That means you Honeybuns Diaw & Don Juan Draper. Take the $20 million and dangle it in front of Chris Paul or Dwight Howard in the rare chance that they want to play in a small market (or come home in CP3’s case) or even take a shot at prying restricted FA Brook Lopez away from New Jersey for less than max money. You could also could use this space to acquire an unhappy All-Star via trade.

STEP 5: Get better in ’12-’13.

Develop the young players, generate some excitement and either make a run for the Playoffs or just miss them and hope for Lottery love. Bobcats will most likely have two picks in the 2013 draft (Their own if not outside the top 10 plus Portland’s).

STEP 6: Shed another $20 million in the summer of 2013.

Diop It Like It’s Hot, No Nickname Carroll, Get Ready For Maggette. The team makes a serious run at another big name FA (watch for Steph Curry here btw). Which brings us back to our present time…

Free Agency 2011

In accordance to the plan, the Bobcats will be on the lookout after the lockout for free agents that meet the following three qualities: young, cheap, (potentially) very good. And that’s pretty much that. I nominate the following:

Earl Clark, SF – ORL

+Compared to young Lamar Odom, only 23, lean 6’10” with a Bilas-approved wingspan
-erratic shot selection, poor shooter
Comment: If you can get him at the right price, Clark could very well develop with playing time. He’s been stuck on veteran teams in the “win now” mode (PHX, ORL) and Silas’s approach could be exactly what he needs to take the next step.

Brandon Wright, PF – NJN

+Physically gifted, skilled rebounder and shooter
-Four seasons, 117 games total
Comment: Originally drafted by Charlotte in the 2007 Draft but traded minutes later for JRICH, Wright can’t use the Earl Clark excuse. He’s played on a bad Nellie Ball team in Golden State as one of the lone big men and then floundered in sixteen games with the Nets last season. His main problem is staying on the court. If he can get healthy, Wright could be a nice rotation big down the line.

Kwame Brown, C – CLT

+Known quantity, can defend big fives, rebound
-Known quantity, not much upside, Vern Troyer-sized hands
Comment: Kwame was probably as surprised as anyone that he started 50 games in the NBA last season. He took advantage and had arguably his most well-rounded season as a pro. The Bobcat brass have made a lot of noise about re-signing him and if the money is right I don’t see why they shouldn’t. Maybe Cho can get creative like his old boss Sam Presti in OKC and sign Kwame to a Nick Collison-style contract. $8 million for ’11-’12 and then $2mil per over the next two seasons sounds about right. Getting a solid backup center for three seasons while not endangering free cap space over the next two summers.

Josh McRoberts, PF/C – IND

+Started 54 games at C/PF for IND, still young at 24
-Chronic case of Big White Dude disease
Comment: Former Dukie came on for the Pacers last season, supplanting Jeff Foster as the slow white undersized center in the middle. McRoberts isn’t great at anything but is a banger and could contribute as a rotation big man for a team on the rise.

Carl Landry, PF – NO

+Mega-Effecient, PER Machine
-Small for his position, Potentially Expensive
Comment: Somebody will probably drop $9 million annually on Landry. The Bobcats tried to sign him once already and if Cho’s hyper-stats reveal Landry to be the most productive player on the market, they could try again.


One last note: If the Bobcats offered Augustin and Tyrus Thomas to the Timberwolves for Derrick Williams, Luke Ridnour and Wayne Ellington, wouldn’t Minnesota at least think about it? Augustin does everything Rubio doesn’t and is insurance in case Ricky falters. Tyrus gives the Wolves a high flying presence who can block shots and throw down alley-oops – exactly the things that neither Williams nor Kevin Love can do. Minny sheds Ridnour’s sketchy contract while the Bobcats get back a scoring PF who they could add to the Kemba-Biyombo-Henderson foundation. It’s worth a shot. Plus Williams could play Boris Diaw’s thinner, younger brother on a Tweener Forward Sitcom.

Until Next Time, Stay with the Plan Bobcats Fans…


20 thoughts on “2011 Free Agent Targets Who Fit The Plan

  1. RobC

    OK, here we I come with another “dream trade” that could make some sense if you think hard enough:

    Charlotte Gets:
    Steve Nash (Expiring Contract)
    Mickael Pietrus (Expiring Contract)

    Phoenix Gets:
    DJ Augustin (Expiring Contract Young Asset – Team Option)
    DJ White (Expiring Contract Young Asset – Team Option)
    Eduardo Najera (Expiring Contract)
    Gana Diop (Two more years)
    Portland 2013 1st Round Pick

    The Suns will get some pretty good young talent in return (both DJ’s fit their style pretty well) and a 1st Round Pick, plus $2M in instant savings. The pick is a “gift” for taking on Gana’s contract. The Suns are thin at PF and have two many wings, plus they intend to become more defensive minded, Diop can actually help in that department (although can’t say the same from DJ Augustine).

    The Bobcats will have a GREAT mentor for Kemba Walker (at least for one year) in Steve Nash and a decent defensive wing in Pietrus, coming off the bench who can also score some points and stretch the floor. In additiona and more important (depending on the new CBA) they could have between $25M-$35M in Cap Space for the summer of 2012, with a top 5 2012 Pick (hopefully) and some solid young players. Needless to say that the Bobcats will be exciting to see with Nash running the show (even at age 37). The Cats would need to use their trade exception from the Wallace trade.

    • Don’t get me wrong RobC, I love Steve Nash just as much as any other college educated, Whole Foods shopping, half-white person but I just don’t see how he fits in with the plan.
      Not to mention that it’s gonna take a hell of a lot more than expiring contracts and D.J. Augustin for the Suns to part with their franchise cash cow. My guess is that Nash plays out his deal with PHX during the abbreviated season and signs on with a contender (Mavs, Heat, Lakers) for a final go.

      • RobC

        The only fit Nash will have is to mentor Kemba Walker and provide significant Cap flexibility because he is an expiring contract. He will also help sell some seats in the event there is a season. Also, I don’t think Phoenix will receive a lot in return for Nash, as a 37 years old PG in decline Phoenix will be glad to get a 1st Rd Pick and two young decent players with no big financial committment.

        After the season is over, the Bobcats won’t have Gana Diop’s contract anymore (that alone makes this trade a winner), plus they will have $25-$30M in Cap space and several young solid players to build around and go after some elite FA.

        • RobC

          Otherwise, Phoenix will watch Nash walk away for nothing. DJ Augustin, DJ White, a 1st Rd Pick and some expiring contract are not bad in return for Nash at this stage of his life. Phoenix wont get a lot more than that from any other team and is better than losing him for nothing.

          • I wish I could agree RobC. I love Nash but you might be undervaluing him. Yeah, he’s 37, but he’s a major draw at the turnstiles and his game (incredible shooting, playmaking tall PG) translates well to another two-three seasons. Can you imagine him on the Heat???
            The Suns will either get a big offer or he’ll play out the contract and sign with Miami, LA or another contender in 2012.

        • I think the Bobcats would need to find and sign the less-talented brother of another NBA player to satisfy the Suns demands in any trade scenario.

          See: Robin Lopez, Taylor Griffin, & Markieff Morris.

          Maybe that was all part of that Florent Pietrus plan a couple years back.

          • I’m hoping that Charlie Murphy, Eric Roberts and Clint Howard get hired by the Suns broadcast team at some point. Maybe get Ashley Simpson to sing the National Anthem and have Kloe Kardashian get engaged to Hakim Warrick.

  2. largerthanlif3

    Soooooooooooo, lemme ask you this. If we lose the season for good, what happens to the pecking order for next year’s draft?

    • That’s a good question. If there is no 2011-12 Season, would the Draft lottery and selections be a repeat of the most recent season’s standings?

      Do contracts “freeze” as the season never really happened?

      • largerthanlif3 & Mike-

        Contract won’t freeze, they’ll expire as scheduled. I’ve heard conflicting reports on draft order. Some say they’ll just re-load from the same standings last season and some say they’ll have an evenly weighted lottery. Don’t think it’ll get to that point though. Now that the NFL lockout has been remedied, the pressure will be on the NBA to get there’s done pronto – just can’t risk the PR hit.

  3. ASChin – You listed a load of Power Forward / Centers on that list. I’m not sure that’s where the Cats are hurting the most. I think a legitimate Center is the big need (let’s not rely too heavily on Kwame, okay).

    Right now, the Cats have these guys signed at the PF spot –
    • Boris Diaw (surely talented, but likely to be dealt)
    • Tyrus Thomas (contract too big to trade, might actually be good)
    • DJ White (huge potential to improve with some playing time)
    • Bismack Biyombo (big potential, but patience is required)

    I’m not sure Brandon Wright or Josh McRoberts are that much of an upgrade. I would think that Landry has hit his ceiling, and the Cats are done being the sucker team to overpay for mid-tier talent. But then again, this is the Bobcats. So, who know’s what they’re gonna do.

    • Good point but you have to take into account the dearth of legit 5s in the league. The sheer fact that Kwame Brown could take home $20 million over three or four seasons should tell you how thin the current crop is. Houston has played well platooning undersized-but-talented centers in the middle for a few years now and I don’t see why MJ & Cho wouldn’t mimic that model.

  4. focuslja

    1. Sign a center: in order: Krystic, Murphy, Aaron Gray, David Andersen
    2. Sign Von Wafer and Reggie Williams
    3. Move DJ to the Lakers or Jazz for a 1st rd pick and Trey Johnson or Utah player of the like.
    4. Try our hardest to move Tyrus. I kno he’s young but his contract is almost a bigger burden than Diop or Carroll. Their contracts will be up soon. Tyrus’ won’t. Send him to Denver to fill the hole left by Martin and Nene. Try to get their pick. Even if it means taking Harrington

    • focuslja-

      Some interesting, “outside-the-box” ideas there. Andersen has already sign to play in Italy so he’s out. Kristic is playing overseas too I believe. Aaron Gray I like as well as Reggie Williams but you have to get them at the right price and I wonder if either of these guys (especially Williams) wants to waste a year schelpping on a non-contender like the Bobcats.

      Moving Tyrus is tough. Remember, the team still owes a first round pick to the Bulls for him sometime in the near future. They also ow him a lot of money. I think they’ll keep him unless a big-time offer comes their way (see the above proposed Derrick Williams swap). He and Biyombo will be nice insurance at the rim once Kemba and D.J.’s man gets into the lane (see Nelson, Jameer).

      • focuslja

        Yes, moving Tyrus will be tough but I think its always a way around it. Here goes nothing

        3 Team Deal:
        -Phx gets Bass
        -Orlando gets Tyrus
        -CLT gets QRich, Lopez and Pietrus
        …I think every team would do this.

        -Tyrus for Bass/Qrich straight up.
        -Tyrus for Pietrus, Markeiff Morris, Lopez straight up. He’s not Amare but he and Gortat make for the new regime in PHX.
        -Tyrus for Andres Nocioni
        -Tyrus for Webster/Pekovic/Ellington…we take a hit financially but only for two seasons. DJ can be included in this and the salaries still match. The only way this works is if the Wolves trade Beasley (which Im sure they will). Tho Beasley will probably b traded for a pick.

        Tyrus can be moved. They may not be the names that we want but they are productive nonetheless and in 2013, we will have a huge salary dump. All these trades benefit all teams involved in one way or another. The 3-Team deal is a stretch. Players like Blatche/Beasley/Harrington have similar contracts so I think Tyrus is better moved at the deadline. He didnt play much last season and teams wont be looking for him as much as the other players. So Tyrus can make or break the future plans by being good or sucking this season. He actually has to play good bc his value is low as of now. If he sucks, then his contract is just as bad as having Diop.

        • focuslja

          and remember, Im not trying to us make us good with these proposals. But what Im trying to do is make trades that allow for a salary overhaul in 2013. Depending on which trade made, along with our players Carroll, Maggette, Diop; Bass, Nocioni, Pekovic, Webster contracts all end in 2013) OR they end at the end of this season (Pietrus, Lopez, Ellington). Plus we would be stocked with young players and PIECES to trade in 2013 or 2012 for even more contracts or draft picks…I should be a GM. Lets see what Cho does.

          • focuslja-

            Some nice ideas there. I think it really comes down to whether or not the Bobcats would consider “dumping” Tyrus Thomas. I mean, has it really come to that? I would have to believe the Bobcats don’t see it that way.
            He’ll never be Amare Stoudamire, sure, but Tyrus still has value in the league as a defensive game-changer at the rim who can cover the pick and roll, rebound and get you 12-15 points in a variety of ways. Is he overpaid? Probably but that shouldn’t count against him on a team as starved for talent as the Bobcats. Also, he’s just 24 years old.
            The only guy you mentioned that’s even roughly in the same talent category is Bass but he looked like a solid bust after Rashard Lewis was moved.
            You’re right about clearing up cap space for FAs and the ‘Cats will have plenty next offseason even with Tyrus on the books to throw the max at somebody. Same goes for the summer after that.

  5. Charlotte Gets:
    Steve Nash (Expiring Contract)
    Mickael Pietrus (Expiring Contract)

    Phoenix Gets:
    DJ Augustin (Expiring Contract Young Asset – Team Option)
    DJ White (Expiring Contract Young Asset – Team Option)
    Eduardo Najera (Expiring Contract)
    Gana Diop (Two more years)
    Portland 2013 1st Round Pick


    Charlotte Gets:
    Steve Nash (Expiring Contract)
    Mickael Pietrus (Expiring Contract)
    Vince Carter (Expiring Contract)

    Phoenix Gets:
    DJ Augustin (Expiring Contract Young Asset – Team Option)
    Eduardo Najera (Expiring Contract)
    Gana Diop (Two more years)
    Portland 2013 1st Round Pick


    • Again, RobC & Gamblevision, if you can arrange for these Steve Nash trades to happen, then by all means do it. I would love to watch Nash for 82 games a season. Like I said before, PHX is unlikely to give him up but would surely have to think hard about Gamblevision’s very generous offer of Tyrus, Augustin and a first rounder. Don’t think they’d take back all that dead weight in salaries though.

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