What To Do with Dampier? – Part 2


PLUS: Carmelo Perception vs. Gerald Wallace Reality


MEgo-Mania© has again swept the Association with the latest contestent being none other than Johnny Sucker Punch himself, Carmelo Anthony.  Within hours of Ric Bucher’s ‘Melo scoop, the national rumor mill threw little old Charlotte a bone by insisting that the Bobcats were, in fact, a legitimate dark horse to land Carmelo due to his Brand Jordan ties and the Nuggs cap-strapped lust of Erik Dampier’s insta-expiring contract.  Immediately the internet was flooded with columnists, blogs and commenters weighing in: “What could the Bobcats possibly send Denver to pry ‘Melo away!!!???  Gerald Wallace and Damp’s expiring?  Throw in some draft picks???  Derrick Brown and Gerald Henderson too!  Maybe some cash?  And take back Kenyon Martin’s dead weight contract, yeah, that’d would at least make ‘em think about it!!!”

With Steve Austin making a comeback splash this summer in The Expendables, let me channel the spirit of Stone Cold in my response to this nonsense:

“Carmelo Anthony, what?  That mealy-mouth sonofabitch, what?  Couldn’t play lock-down defense on a Roomba, what?  Sucker-punchin’ yellow belly beady-eyed overrated idiot, what?”
(CUT TO: Stone Cold  Stunner on ‘Melo, Austin mocks an incapicitated Carmelo with a two fingered salute while wearing a black t-shirt and jean shorts.  WHAT?)

Someone please refresh my memory.  What exactly has Carmelo Anthony accomplished during his first seven seasons in the Association?  At least Lebron has been to an NBA finals.  Melo can’t even say that.  He’s a high-octane scoring dynamo, a one dimensional player who has a catchy name and often plays on national television.  Basically, he’s the new Vince Carter.  End of story.

Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie summed it up best in his Small Forward Rankings last month.  Ranking Gerald Wallace 4th and Carmelo 3rd, he writes:

I would have no problem (with) flipping (Wallace) with Carmelo Anthony on more than a few nights. Anthony’s offense is as good as Wallace’s D, but Wallace’s offense is so, so much better than Carmelo’s defense.


  1. Only two years older.
  2. Costs half as much ($10 million average base versus ‘Melo’s upcoming MAX extension).
  3. Doesn’t dominate the ball.  Can score without having plays called for him.
  4. Plays outstanding man and team defense.  Best rebounding small forward in the league.
  5. Team leader who has the respect of the lockerroom.

So why would the Bobcats consider anything other than a straight swap of Wallace for Anthony?  Simple, Carmelo’s perceived value is higher.  Higher in the mind of the casual fan and higher in the mind of televsion executives who decide which teams get national broadcasts.  Mark Mainstream hears the name “Carmelo Anthony” and associates it with “talented.”  Again, ‘Melo is the new Vince Carter.  The Bobcats are still trying to lure in fans and establish an identity while trying to prevent another season of full-scale financial catastophe.  ‘Melo’s perceived value and name recognition could help.  I just hope the team doesn’t severely over-pay in order to get him.  Now back to our regularly scheduled programming:


If anything worthwhile has come out of these ME-lo rumors, it’s the fact that the billionaire Kroenke family has grown tired of dropping $20+ million in luxury tax payments to the league every year.  As previously mentioned, the Nuggets aren’t exactly lining the halls with Larry O’Brian trophies so cutting team salary this year (with the Lakers, Celtics, Magic, Heat clearly ahead of them) makes a lot of sense.  There’s been a lot of talk of a Chauncey Billups/Dampier straight up swap and I’d be all for it except for the fact that the ‘Cats are currently $8 million over the tax line and need to shed salary fast.  There’s no question that the Nuggets would pull the trigger on a trade that would save them $26 million this season but in order for the ‘Cats to make it happen, they’ll need to make another deal first.


CLT trades Boris Diaw and a future first rounder & second rounder to MIN, NYK or SAC for a future 2nd Round selection.
CLT trades Nazr Mohammed + D.J. Augustin to MIN, NYK or SAC for a future 2nd Round selection.

In order to get underneath the luxury tax, the Bobcats need to shed around $8.5 million dollars from their current payroll.  Fortunately, they might have a couple of ways of doing this in Boris Diaw (plus picks) or a Nazr/Augustin combo.  If I’m MJ, I’m on the phone with David Kahn right now whispering, “y’know, we have this young point guard prospect who we-“  KAHN: “Point guard Prospect???!!!  Did you say Point Guard?????!!!”

The Knicks might also be inclined to take on former D’Antoni favorite Diaw while gaining back a first round pick that can be used in the next decade.  (Although I would be a little concerned that the Diaw/Eddie Curry combo might do to IHOPs what Ewing and LJ did to The Gold Club in the late ’90s.)

In the following scenario, let’s say the ‘Cats find a taker for D.J. and Nazr (even if they have to throw in a protected future first), then…

CLT trades Erik Dampier to DEN for Chauncey Billups

The Bobcats suddenly accomplish both of their current offseason goals: Upgrade the Point Guard position and Get Underneath the Luxury Tax.  The team heads into the preseason with a relatively stacked roster.
Kwame and Diop would try to replicate last year’s Mohammed/Chandler/Ratliff center by committee while a now “huskier” Boris Diaw would rotate between the 4 and 5 spots when Coach Brown goes, uh, “small.”
Chauncey and Shaun Livingston give Larry Brown much bigger options at the point.  McGuire, Derrick Brown, Henderson, Tyrus Thomas plus Crash, Livingston and JAX give Larry Brown a metric ton of “long, athletic” wing players to do his magic with.
Bobcats Salaries Post - Chauncey Trade
From a cap perspective, the Bobcats stay right at the tax line this season while maintaining flexibility going forward.  Billups has a team option for the ’11-’12 season which will almost certainly not be exercised as the league goes into a lockout.  The Bobcats could use their leverage with Billups’ current deal to sign him to a three year contract extension at a much lower per year salary next summer.


A Billups for Dampier swap makes a great deal of sense for both teams as Denver could save tens of millions this season by promoting Ty Lawson and dumping Chauncey.  The Bobcats would likely cement their rise to the top 4 in the East this season by upgrading from Raymond Felton to Billups.  Hmmm…  What else is there to say?  Bobcats win and win big.

Until next time, Enjoy the Offseason Bobcats Fans.


What To Do with Dampier? – Part 1


Mo Williams ©2010 NBA

Michael Jordan bragged openly last month that the team had acquired the League’s “most valuable contract” when they sent bust Tyson Chandler to Dallas in return for Erick Dampier and a couple of overpaid 12th men.  How valuable exactly?  MJ and GM Rod Higgins will have at least another month and a half to mull over the decision as they wait the mandatory 60 days before Damp, Eduardo Najera or Matt Carroll can be traded again in a package.

So what will they do with all of this “value”?
In order to answer the question, we need to first look hard at the team’s present situation.

Continue reading

Shorthanded Bobcats Fall To Knicks


Charlotte Bobcats @ Knicks, 12/20/09

Wallace Sits, Jackson Leaves Early

The Charlotte Bobcats dropped another road game Sunday evening, this time 98-94 to the New York Knicks.  AP recap here, box score here.  Since defeating these same Knicks in Charlotte last Tuesday, the Bobcats have lost three in a row and now stand at 10-16 overall (1-12 road) and have fallen to 9th place in the Eastern Conference.  The Knicks, on the other hand, have won 6 of 8.

The big story for the Bobcats here is the Gerald Wallace was held out of the game after experiencing a severe headache.  Details are frankly sketchy, but it seems that Gerald must have complained of a headache sometime Sunday.  The training/coaching staff made the decision to hold him out, no doubt recognizing Gerald’s personal concussion history (along with the recent increased sensitivity to head injuries in the sports world in general).  Per Larry Brown’s postgame comments, Wallace (true to form) tried to convince the staff that he could play, but they stuck with their original decision.

Wallace looked OK on the bench, and at no time was it ever suggested that the headache was related to any recent blow to the head, so hopefully he’s back next game.  But it was certainly awkward for him to have to sit for a headache just a night after he questioned teammates’ effort.

With Wallace out, the Bobcats could have used big games from Stephen Jackson and Boris Diaw.  But Boris was limited due to foul trouble, and Jackson went out with back spasms in the third quarter.

Despite this, the Bobcats were able to hang around and make a run at it late in the fourth quarter.  The Knicks didn’t play particularly well, but they did take and make a lot of threes — 11-25 — which kept the Cats at bay.

Hot Mess Of A Finish

As noted, the Bobcats stayed within striking distance; and not surprisingly, the Knicks nudged the door open a little wider with several mistakes down the stretch.  Wilson Chandler threw the ball away with 30 seconds left and the Knicks only made 3-6 FTs after that.  But the Bobcats weren’t sharp enough to take advantage.  They didn’t close out on the Knicks’ 3-point shooters well, and Boris Diaw missed two threes with under a minute left, either of which would have been huge.

But the biggest boner was on the last play.  With no timeouts left and nine seconds on the clock, Danilo Gallinari made only one of two free throws to give the Knicks a two point lead.  Diaw had fouled out putting Gallinari on the line, so he’s done.  You want all your available penetrators and 3-point shooters on the floor in such a situation, right?  So maybe Felton, DJ, Flip and Gerald Henderson.  Probably one guy who could crash the boards, too, right?  Derrick Brown?

Instead, Larry Brown chose to take Acie freakin’ Law out of mothballs.  Not only that, but on the inbounds after Gallinari’s made free throw the Bobcats looked completely flummoxed and Acie Law ended up getting the ball.  Instead of getting it to Raymond, who had been very effective penetrating against the Knicks (lack of) interior D, Law took off.  Yes, the guy who has played 71 minutes all year and only 5 since being traded to the Bobcats a month ago is your go-to man with the game on the line.

Law weaved through traffic and made his way towards the rim, but never really got a great angle or enough separation from the Knicks’ defenders.  He also didn’t see Raymond Felton, who looked to be available for the kickout.  Law’s layup attempt was swatted away by Danilo Gallinari, who gladly atoned for his missed free throw.

In the postgame comments, Brown implied that Law was indeed supposed to get the ball, but that the hope was to penetrate and kickout for a game-winning three.  Really?  Acie Law?


  • Jonathan Bender took a nice step in his comeback, playing 15 minutes and hitting 3-3 3-pointers.
  • DJ has maybe kinda-sorta snapped out of his funk: 2-4 3PTs and 3 assists in 20 minutes.
  • Next game is Tuesday night at the Cable Box, hosting the Pistons at 7 PM ET.

Bobcats Finish Strong To End Knicks’ Streak


Charlotte Bobcats vs. Knicks, 12/15/09

Home Sweet Home

The Charlotte Bobcats used a 15-2 game-ending run to defeat the New York Knicks 94-87 on Tuesday night at the Cable Box to improve their home record to 9-3 (10-13 overall).  AP story here, box score here.  These two teams came into the game under opposite circumstances: the Bobcats had lost two in a row over the weekend in Texas, while the Knicks were on a season-high four-game win streak.

This was a poorly played game that neither team seemed to want to grab control of.  Nonetheless, the Knicks found themselves in position to extend their win streak to five after a Wilson Chandler three and a Jared Jeffries dunk gave them a six-point lead with just under four minutes left.

Instead, the Bobcats would come alive and dominate the rest of the way.  They tightened the screws on D, forcing several turnovers and allowing the Knicks only one more bucket the rest of the way.  Meanwhile, Flip Murray hit a huge three, Raymond Felton had two great driving layups and Stephen Jackson finished a break with a big dunk as the Cats would score 15 points in the last four minutes to steal the win.

It’s worth noting that this is the exact opposite of what usually happens in Bobcats games — usually it’s the Cats who can’t get any buckets when the opponent tightens up on D.

Gerald Wallace had a monster 15-point first quarter and coasted to a 21 point, 8 rebound, 5 assist, 4 steal performance.  Stephen Jackson continued to take the offensive pressure off the rest of the team by going for 24 points.  Tyson Chandler had a decent game in limited minutes: 8 points on 3-4 FG and 12 rebounds while only committing 2 turnovers and 1 foul (the limited minutes were due to the D’Antoni smallball being played).


  • This was an extremely sloppy game overall, with 22 turnovers for the Bobcats and 21 for the Knicks.
  • The Cats shot poorly from distance (2-15 3PT) but were on point from the charity stripe (19-22 FT).
  • DJ played 11 minutes and didn’t tally a statistic except for a foul.  He’s like the anti-Gerald Wallace.
  • The Bobcats get another good chance to right their road wrongs tomorrow night in Indiana (7PM ET).

-Dr. E

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Knicks 12/30/08


1. Another rough night to be a Bobcats fan at the Cable Box, as the Cats drop one to the Knicks, 93-89.  AP story here, box score here.  Bobcats fall to 11-21, Knicks break a 6 game losing streak and improve to 12-18.

2. The opening tip was delayed for a few minutes as the game officials attempted to get the shot clocks going — so I finally got to hear the rest of that Rihanna song.  I wasn’t missing much.  And now I can’t get it out of my head (“Live your life! blahblahblahblahblahblah!  Live your life! — Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh!!!).  Let’s see if we can replace it with something better… ah yes.  Hilarious video, btw.

Anyways, they played the whole first half without the shot clocks lit up.  The arena announcer gave the “10 second” and “5 second” warnings a few times, but didn’t have to do it much.  Towards the end of the second quarter, the scoreboard stopped updating, too — so they just put the video of the game up and announced the score.  Oh, and the horn for timeouts and substitutions wasn’t working either, so a manual airhorn was used.  I’m not joking…

The problem was apparently solved at halftime, and there were no further glitches in the second half.

3. Interstingly, the Knicks really blew the Bobcats out in the first few minutes of the game, getting out to a 17-6 lead after 6 minutes, 32-15 after 9.  Only the players could answer this for sure, but I have to wonder if not having the shot clocks up was more of a disadvantage for the Bobcats offense.  See, the Knicks under D’Antoni are used to coming down and getting a decent shot early in the possession (Seven Seconds or Less, right?), while the Bobcats under Larry Brown have been taught to be patient and probe the defense until a good shot eventually presents itself.  Without the shot clocks up, maybe the Bobcats were unnerved and looked to force up shots they weren’t accustomed to early in the possession?

Or maybe we just came out really flat and I’m looking for an excuse…

4. Whatever the case, the Cats eventually stabilized things and started chipping away at the Knicks’ lead.  Gerald Wallace had a decent game, ending with 21 points on 8-15 FG, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block.  At the end of the third, Charlotte trailed by just six (74-68).

Make no mistake, though.  This was an unpleasant game against two lottery teams that was tortuous to watch at times.  With Raja Bell out, Larry Brown spread the extra minutes at the two around between Matt Carroll, Adam Morrison, DJ Augustin and Sean Singletary.  As if playing DJ and Raymond together hasn’t driven me crazy enough, Brown has now taken to playing DJ and Sean Singletary together in what has to be the smallest backcourt combination in the league.  Seriously, there can’t be another team in the league that has put two sub-6 foot point guards on the floor at the same time this year.

And as if he was actually trying to make my head spin a la the Exorcist, Brown actually played DJ, Singletary, and Raymond together for a stretch.  I wish I was kidding.  I mean, I know it’s against the Knicks, who routinely employ David Lee and Jared Jeffries as their “center”, so you’re more than welcome to play some smallball, but all three point guards at once?  With 6’1″ 200 lb Raymond Felton playing the three?

Can we add this instance to the Larry Brown Senility Watch?

5. In fairness, it’s not like Matt Carroll or Adam Morrison were lighting the world on fire.  Carroll played 14 minutes and went 2-6 from the field.  Morrison, fresh off being called out by Bobcats beat writer Rick Bonnell, played an awful 13 minutes off the bench, going 0-3 from the field.  All were 3 point attempts — the middle one was an airball that drew heavy boos from the crowd.

With Raja Bell out and the Bobcats looking for a spark, wouldn’t it have been a good night to give Shannon Brown some run?  Especially over Sean Singletary?

6. On to the fourth quarter, where the Bobcats made a patented “It’s the NBA, every team is going to go on a run” run.  Led by some timely 3 pointers from Diaw, the Bobcats closed the gap and had the crowd into the game.  Felton hit a 3 to momentarily give the Cats the lead at 83-82 with four minutes left, and a couple minutes later Diaw hit another one to tie the game at 87.

Wilson Chandler then hit a couple of free throws to put the Knicks up 2 with less than a minute.  On the ensuing Bobcats offensive possession, the biggest one of the game, what do you think happened?  Hint: it happens down the stretch in pretty much every close game the Bobcats play and rarely turns out well.

You guessed it: a missed Raymond Felton layup, with no foul drawn.  I swear, every team must have a line in their scouting report on the Bobcats that says something like: “Felton: let him drive, especially with game on line; poor finisher at the hoop.”

On the next sequence, Duhon got to the hoop, missed a layup himself, grabbed the board, missed the putback, grabbed the rebound again in a scramble, and was fouled by a frustrated Boris Diaw.  Duhon hit the free throws to put the game away.

7. Looking back, Okafor never got into the flow much tonight.  13 points on 5-11 FG and 15 rebounds is a decent line, but he really wasn’t much of a factor.  He was being guarded most of the time by David Lee, who seemed to do a good job on him.  Nonetheless, the Cats probably should have looked inside a bit more.

8. Overall, a bad game for the Cats.  After the recent stretch of winning 4 out of 5, it seemed like the addition of Diaw was working out nicely and Brown was starting to get the team playing “the right way.”  But these last two home losses to the Nets and Knicks have been killers, and tonight in particular the Cats were as bad as ever.  Not to mention that while only a little over a third of the season is done, half of our home games are in the books.  Any improvement that Larry Brown can muster out of this bunch will have to be done with a road-heavy schedule the rest of the way.  Happy freaking holidays, Bobcat fans.

9. As if I needed another reason to feel depressed, Tom Ziller posts on NBA Fanhouse that the Bobcats are at the head of the “Vortex of Suck” in the NBA.  He points out that, while the Bobcats currently don’t have nearly as bad a record as the Thunder or Wizards, they have less potentially great players on their roster and far less financial flexibility.  I would argue that the Wizards, who have Gilbert Arenas and his bad knee on a max contract, might be in even worse shape than the Bobcats, but Ziller’s point is well taken.

10. Next two games are at Milwaukee Friday night, then hosting Milwaukee Saturday night.  Lets hope the Cats can get back on track.  Happy New Year, everybody.