The Camby-to-the-Clippers trade a few days ago had Emeka Okafor fans in Charlotte breathing a sigh of relief. With the Clippers’ cap space now used up, they could no longer pursue restricted free agents like Josh Smith or Okafor. The thinking was that the Bobcats would be able to get Okafor signed to a multi-year deal similar to the one that he almost signed last summer.
However, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported yesterday that the latest NBA scuttlebutt is that Okafor is likely to be involved in a sign-and-trade deal sometime in the near future. Combine this with Bonnell’s recent comment that he “assumes” that there’s going to be a trade between now and the start of the season, and the evidence is starting to mount. Clearly, something is going down.
I still wonder whether or not Gerald Wallace isn’t the guy that Bonnell “assumes” is going to be traded; but for now let’s assume he’s talking about an Okafor sign-and-trade. Which side is driving these rumors — does Emeka want out? Or is Larry Brown not fond of his game? Or does Brown simply have his eye on another player? Who would want Okafor? Who would the Bobcats want back? Who could the Bobcats realistically get back
I can hazard a guess as to which side is driving the rumors: I do believe that Larry Brown is nonplussed with Okafor (remember Okafor hardly played on the USA squad that Brown led a few years back) and has his eye on a player he knows will help him get the Bobcats to the playoffs.
As for who the possible target is, let’s apply some reason here. The Bobcats would certainly not be dealing from a position of abundance. Nazr Mohammed is a backup. Sean May is not a sure thing. Jermareo Davidson and Ryan Hollins both show promise, but still aren’t quite ready for prime time. And Alexis Ajinca seems destined for the D-League. So we can safely assume that the Bobcats will be looking for a big in return.
Could the target be Rasheed Wallace? I know we’ve gone down the Rasheed Wallace road before here on Bobcats Baseline, but I believe we need to revisit it now. The deal would meet a lot of my supposed criteria. Larry Brown almost certainly has his eye on Wallace. The Pistons would likely be interested in a resigned Okafor. And they’d probably be open to moving the aging Wallace, who could be a divisive personality under a new, first-time head coach. If, as part of the deal, we could extend Wallace’s expiring contract for another two or three years I’d say the Bobcats would be all over such a proposition.
What do you guys think? Are there any other realistic targets in an Emeka Okafor sign-and-trade?