STATE OF THE ROSTER: Post JRICH Trade 12/10/08

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Phoenix Suns

Well…

There are a couple of ways of looking at this trade.  Let’s start with the negative…

1. The Bobcats trade their most recognizable and most offensively explosive player to the Phoenix Suns for two rotation players.  They didn’t get Steve Nash, nor Amare Stoudamire, nor Barbosa, nor Shaq, nor did they receive any draft picks or significant cap space.  They got a sometimes productive starting power forward in Boris Diaw and an aging defensive ace SG in Raja Bell.  And to top it all off, they have to send the Suns a 2nd round draft pick and include everyone’s favorite “Hustle Stats” hero in Jared Dudley.  Diaw has battled conditioning problems over the past few seasons and has regressed mightily since his Most Improved Player award in ’05.  The good news is is that Sean May now has an “Eatin’ Buddy” and (being French) Diaw can now instruct young, emaciated PF Alexis Ajinca in the fine art of American Obesity.  “First you must layer ze mayonaise gently on ze baguette.  Zen you add ze lump crab meat.  Voila!  Zat is what makes le magnifique Crab Bread!”

2. Back to a more serious note, the team trades a guy who averages around 20 points per game and replaces him with a role player Bruce-Bowen type who averages 10 points while playing with Steve-freaking-Nash.  Need I mention that the ‘Cats are 26th in Offensive Efficiency and 30th in Points Per Game.  Am I missing the logic somewhere?

Ok, enough with the negatives, what about the positives?

3. Jason Richardson is a good third option who was getting paid like a superstar.  Yeah, we all loved JRICH but the dude is getting paid roughly the same amount of money per year as Chris Bosh, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Joe Johnson.  JRICH is no Lebron.  Hell, he’s not even Joe Johnson.  If you didn’t catch the Heat game on Monday night you may have missed JRICH dominating with 18 quick points in the first quarter only to shrink in the second half and then finally choking on two potentially game-tying free throws.  Joe Johnson would’ve never done that.  When you fail the “Joe Johnson Test” you are no longer considered a fringe franchise player.  Yeah, he’ll do his thing in PHX and score at a nice pace and we’ll all miss him but realistically with Jason Richardson as your best player, your team is going absolutely nowhere and I’m glad management realized this.  Plus, JRICH’s defense wasn’t exactly stellar so even though Raja scores 9 points less per game than Jason, his limiting the other team’s guards from blowing up on a regular basis should bring that number somewhere closer to even.

4. The team now has 5 legitimate starters instead of 4.  A lineup of Okafor/Diaw/Wallace/Bell/Augustin is a lot better just for the fact that you don’t have to trot out Sean May or Jared Dudley at Power Forward for 20-30 minutes a game.  Diaw is an incredible frontcourt passer as well and should help a lot with the congestion once the ball goes down low or in the corners.  Assuming the team keeps Felton, then you are also adding depth by playing Sean May a more suitable 15 minutes off of the bench and rotating Morrison/Carroll as outside shooters.  This move should also allow the ‘Cats to send Ajinca (who had his best game tonight against the Hornets) to the DLeague in order to get some seasoning.

5. But are they finished?  Is Wallace heading to the Clips for Kaman?  Is Felton heading to the Kings for Brad Miller?  Will the Carroll to Jersey or Philly deals ever happen?  This team is still very oddly built regardless of today’s trade.  Looking at the current roster you have:

PG: Felton/Augustin/Singletary

SG: Bell/Carroll/Brown

SF: Wallace/Morrison

PF: Diaw/May/Ajinca

C: Okafor/Mohammed/Hollins

There’s still that unnecessary duplication of skill sets with Morrison/Carroll and the highly-paid backup Mohammed getting minutes ahead of energy guy Ryan Hollins.  If the Wallace/Kaman rumors have any legs that makes the team even stranger with:

PG: Felton/Augustin/Singletary

SG: Bell/Carroll/Brown

SF: Diaw/Morrison

PF: Okafor/May/Ajinca

C: Kaman/Mohammed/Hollins

Not sure who I’d like taking the last shot in a game with this lineup.  Or even the first shot in the game for that matter.  Maybe DJ.

Anyways, it should be an interesting next few weeks.  Lets see what GM Rod Higgins and Coach Brown have up their collective sleeves.

10 thoughts on “STATE OF THE ROSTER: Post JRICH Trade 12/10/08

  1. I think Larry Brown sent a message to his roster with this trade.

    J Rich missed those two free throws at the end of the game against the Heat on Monday.

    If you miss two clutch free throws – you're gonna hit the road.

  2. Regarding your lineups: I'm interested to see if the Felton SG rotation continues. Ray and DJ are putting up 27 pts collectively and the assist factor has got to improve with both those dudes.

    The Wallace trade would boggle my mind. The steals. The blocks. The reeeeeees.

    Aren't those the things LB wants?

  3. Josh-

    Don't forget about that deal that was on the table for Charlotte during the '06 draft. The Trailblazers were sitting at #3 and were BEGGING the 'Cats to trade up in exchange for the 5th and 13th selections in that years draft. Bernie didn't bite and instead the Jazz traded up for the lesser sum of the 6th overall selection, the 27th, and a future late first rounder. At the 3rd selection, the 'Cats could have had either Williams or Paul. Instead we reached for Felton at 5 (controversial even then) and drafted everyone's favorite whipping boy Sean May at #13.

    Does Felton and May = Deron Williams or Chris Paul?

    Not by a long shot.

  4. Yeah Diaw is definitely overpaid but he's also definitely more moveable to another team at $9million than JRICH is at roughly $13million. I'm not apologizing for it. Diaw is gonna have to average around 15pts/8rbs/6asts for the contract to make any sense. I hope these last couple of years have taught MJ and company a little bit about cap management. Signing Matt Carroll to a LUDICROUSLY LONG contract (at a decent per season number) or trading for Nazr "The Six Million Dollar Man" Mohammed doesn't help you out when you are trying to build a playoff team. One other thing, if the team really wanted to save money and put butts in the seats, they really need to invest in scouting and draft better. The only way small market teams get superstars is by drafting them, not signing them. When you think about all of the players the Bobcats could have drafted over the years (Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay) you can certainly see that they've struck out more than not.

  5. His Airness

    C'mon man: I'm a great evaluator of young talent. Kwame Brown, Sean May, Adam Morrison… do those names mean anything to you?

  6. Josh

    the 'Cats couldn't have had Paul or Williams since they were taken by the time Charlotte drafted in '05. but you're absolutely right about Roy, and they could have had the likes of Al Jefferson and Danny Granger as well.

  7. Josh

    JRich is overpaid, true, but what about Diaw? JRich is set to get 12, 13 and 14 million per year over the next three, but Boris is getting 9 freaking million a year likely for the next FOUR years. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather pay Richardson 13 million than Diaw 9 million. He’s had one pretty good season, and that’s it, and it was on a very good team. The first few years of his career in Atlanta he was completely worthless. I could definitely see him regressing every further in Charlotte.

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