With an away-home back-to-back in Detroit tonight and hosting Orlando Saturday night, it was already shaping up to be a busy weekend for the 1-3 Bobcats. Now we can add a trade rumor to the mix.
Friday Night at Detroit
The Cats are in Detroit tonight looking to build on their first win of the season against the Pistons, who are making a nice case for being the worst team in the league. The Pistons have been in all of their games except the loss to the Celtics, but are nonetheless winless at 0-5.
What’s worse is that the two biggest Pistons stories of the season are finger-pointing between players and coach over a lack of leadership and Charlie Villanueva’s tattling on Kevin Garnett’s over-the-line trash talk.
The latest scuttlebutt is that in Wednesday’s loss to the Hawks, coach John Kuester benched Rodney Stuckey. Head over to Detroit Bad Boys for the latest on the Piston’s struggles.
Gametime is 7:30 PM ET and the game will be televised on SportSouth (in HD for Time Warner customers on channel 1510! — a quick check last night showed that 1510 had been added to my channel lineup!).
Saturday night vs Orlando
From one extreme to the other. The Magic are 2-1, having only played three games because their Tuesday night tilt with the Knicks was postponed due to asbestos in the Garden (weird to type that), but are clearly one of the most dominant teams in the league. Their loss was an ugly one to the Heat, but their two wins were both absolute throttlings of the Wizards and T-Wolves, by 29 and 42 points, respectively.
The Cats will be looking for a small measure of revenge after getting swept out of the first round of the playoffs last spring, but look no better equipped to combat Dwight Howard and company now than they were then.
Gametime is 7:00 PM ET at the Cable Box.
One of the main problems has been mediocre play from Nazr Mohammed (ahem), and a lack of depth behind him. But with Kwame Brown and Dominic McGuire getting ready to return from injury, I figured Larry Brown and company would at least give those guys a run before making a move.
So I was a little surprised to wake up this morning and see the Bobcats once again leading off Hoopshype.com’s Rumors page. Via Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Bobcats and Bulls have been talking about James Johnson.
Johnson is a big, tough 6’9″ 250 lb forward in his second year in the league. He was drafted 16th overall by the Bulls in the 2009 draft out of Wake Forest and averaged almost 12 minutes per game last year. He was decent as a rookie, but was looked at as somewhat expendable in the offseason after the Bulls acquisition of Carlos Boozer.
But with Boozer’s preseason boxer’s fracture putting him out for the first several weeks of the season, and Johnson coming into camp in fantastic condition, his future in Chicago was temporarily looking a little brighter. Johnson’s 2011-12 option was recently picked up by the Bulls after a good preseason, and he had a nice 19 minute/8 point/9 rebound/4 assist/3 block/2 steal/+24 PER night against the Pistons last week.
But with Taj Gibson playing pretty well, Boozer’s return around the corner, and new Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau looking to make his mark on the team and take them deep into the playoffs, Johnson is apparently available again.
What would Larry Brown and the Bobcats be seeing in Johnson? Probably George Lynch, or Dominic McGuire with a higher ceiling. Here’s an excellent breakdown of Johnson’s game from Bulls Confidential.
A better question is: what would the Bulls be looking for in return? They need upgrades at SG and backup PG, but I can’t see the Bobcats being able to accommodate that. Any ideas, Baseliners?