Charlotte Bobcats 2009 Free Agency

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2009 Charlotte Bobcats Free Agency

Mid-Level Madness!

UPDATED: JULY 5, 9:52pm

As the Observer’s Rick Bonnell pointed out yesterday, the Charlotte Bobcats have entered the summer at or above the NBA salary cap.  Once Raymond Felton is re-signed (expected to be around $7 million/season) and both draft picks’ deals are finalized, the ‘Cats should find themselves at around $60 million in total salaries for next season; about $3 million over the League’s projected $57 million cap.

Since the NBA has a “soft cap” the only way that the Bobcats could make a major free agent signing is through cap exceptions.  Wikipedia has a concise definition of the cap exceptions most important to the Bobcats this season; the Mid-level and Bi-annual Cap Exceptions:

Mid-level exception

A team is allowed to sign one player to a contract equal to the average NBA salary, even if the team is over the salary cap already, or if the signing would put them over the cap. This is known as the Mid-level exception (MLE). The MLE may be used on an individual free agent or split among multiple free agents, and is available to any team that exceeds the salary cap at the beginning of the offseason. The Mid-Level Exception for the 2007-08 NBA season was $5.36 million. The MLE is $5.585 million for the 2008-09 NBA regular season.

An example would be the Toronto Raptors‘ acquisition of Jason Kapono during the 2007 off-season.

Bi-annual exception

The bi-annual exception may be used to sign any free agent to a contract starting at $1.672 million in 2005-06, but cannot be used two years in a row (and if the $1 million exception from the previous CBA was used in 2004-05, the bi-annual exception cannot be used in 2005-06). Like the mid-level exception, the $1 million exception can also be split among more than one player, and can be used to sign players for up to two years, with raises limited to 8% per year. This exception was referred to as the “$1 million exception” in the 1999 CBA, although it was only valued at $1 million for the first year of the agreement.

An example of the $1 million exception was the Los Angeles Lakers‘ signing of Karl Malone to a contract before the 2003-04 season.

As the Full Mid-Level only allows the Bobcats to sign a player to a maximum ~$6 million/year salary, we can pretty much rule the ‘Cats out of some of the bigger name FAs like Lamar Odom, Paul Millsap or David Lee.

The Sporting News has a great free agent tracker that breaks down this summer’s top free agents by position.  I’ll couple that with John Hollinger’s excellent “Bang for the Buck” list to put together some possible Bobcats Free Agent signings:

FULL MID-LEVEL

This list includes players who potentially could sign a 2-3 year deal with the Bobcats at the full mid-level exception (~$6 million/per).

  1. Allen Iverson SG
    The latest news has Iverson interested in Memphis (???) and Bonnell reports that ‘Cats GM Rod Higgins has yet to contact AI’s agent.  Iverson likely won’t command anything more than the full-midlevel and a one or two year deal for the vet makes a lot of sense for a team in desperate need of scoring.
    UPDATE: Bonnell responded to my question, putting the chances of the ‘Cats signing AI at 5%, McDyess at 10%, Bass at 20%.
  2. Rasheed Wallace PF/C
    Although ‘Sheed would be a great fit in Charlotte – first as a player and then later as a potential coaching successor to Larry Brown – it looks like the former Tar Heel will be signing with a contender like San Antonio or Boston this off-season.
    UPDATE: Fox Sports is reporting that ‘Sheed just signed a 2-year full mid-level deal with the Celtics, taking him off of the market.
  3. Brandon Bass PF
    Rod Higgins has apparantly contacted the agents for both Bass and Antonio McDyess, as the team looks to shore up the backup PF position.  Bass is only 24 and has just come off of two quality seasons in Dallas backing up the 4-spot.  He’s an excellent offensive option and a strong defender.  Other teams are aware of this as well, so it’s likely that Bass will command a multi-year, full mid-level deal.
    UPDATE: Bonnell reports that a team has apparently offered Bass the full mid-level over 5 years and that the team was probably not the Bobcats.  He does however speculate that a sign-and-trade scenario could unfold involving Bass.
    Sign and Trade deals are difficult and (for most NBA fans) extremely complicated to understand.  Check out this link from the NBA Salary Cap FAQ and this one from Wikipedia for more information.  I’m at a loss for the last time a double sign-and-trade was made.  The last one I could remember involved Eddie Curry going to the Knicks for some other chunky contracts a few years back.  Anybody have a more recent example?

Partial Mid-Level

These players shouldn’t and couldn’t command a full mid-level from any team this summer but would be quality additions to the team.

  1. Antonio McDyess PF
    The 34-year old, former #2 overall pick can still bring it – he nearly averaged a double-double last season – and would be a great veteran presence in the locker room.  Imagine Juwan Howard: EVOLUTION.
  2. Anthony Carter PG
    Carter is the kind of veteran 3rd PG that Larry Brown loves and would be a great fit on a team with two young PGs like the Bobcats.
  3. Dahntay Jones SG
    If the Bobcats conclude that the Gerald Henderson Experiment is not yet ready for primetime, then fellow Dookie Jones would offer a nice buffer until Henderson is ready to go.
  4. Leon Powe PF
    Powe is a wiry PF who seems to be custom built to guard the new NBA PF prototype – long, rangy players who can shoot the three.  Three years in Boston studying “D” under Tom Thibodeau isn’t bad on a resume either.
    UPDATE: As I commented already below, Powe is on schedule to return around Feb ’10.
  5. Joe Smith PF
    Doesn’t seem too long ago that Smith was being traded around the League as a playoff difference maker.  Smith still has abilities and would be a solid alternative to McDyess or Bass if the ‘Cats can’t get a deal done with either one of their preferred FAs.

Bi-Annual/Minimum Salary Exceptions

These players probably won’t see anything above the League minimum but offer low-risk/high-reward potential.

  1. Ike Diogu PF
    He’s put up numbers and shown potential wherever he’s gone.  Work habits aside, he’d be a nice insurance policy at the 4-spot at or near the League minimum.
  2. Rodney Carney SF
    Carney reeks of this year’s Shannon Brown.  A guy coming off of a first-round contract, barely staying in the League.  Like Shannon, Carney’s an atheletic defender and a decent finisher – and a poor shooter.  Good get at this price.
  3. Sean May PF
    If he signs at or near the League minimum, May would be a decent gamble backing up Boris Diaw.  Next season would be his second coming off of micro-fracture surgury and May should be back to form.  Jokes aside, there’s no denying that when he’s been healthy and in shape, he’s been effective.
    UPDATE: According to May’s Twitter page, he just played in the NC PRO AM Tourney.  I can’t believe I just referenced Sean May’s Twitter account.

-ASChin

9 thoughts on “Charlotte Bobcats 2009 Free Agency

  1. jackson

    I don't think Powe is on the table for the MLE. Didn't he hurt his knee badly in the playoffs? I remember him likely being out most of next season to recover from that, and maybe he can't come back at all.

    Would love to get Bass, he could be a good option with an actual long-term future. McDyess would be a great veteran presence for a year or two.

  2. E

    I still can't imagine Iverson in a Bobcats uniform – just so risky. I feel like he'd just be here to collect an MLE paycheck for a couple of years. He would bite into DJ's playing time as well.

    Sheed would be great, but I would bet he's going to the Spurs. They can offer the MLE for 2-3 years, and he can/will start there. A healthy Parker/Ginobili/Jefferson/Sheed/Duncan starting five puts them in contention.

    McDyess and Bass are much more likely. We'd be lucky to get either one. I would prefer Bass, as he's only 24 and possibly hasn't even hit his ceiling yet. Git-R-Done, Rod Higgins!

  3. Jared

    I see AI biting into Bell and Henderson's pt more so than DJ's. No sense in bringing him unless he's going to start. He's a 2 guard so Bell would lose his spot. It'd be a risk for sure, but the pay off would be go to scoring like we've never seen. Also, I can't imagine him not playing his heart out(not if he's starting). That's all I've ever seen from AI, no reason he'd change now. Not while playing for LB.

    I don't know if it would honestly. I am intrigued by the idea, however.

    I would agree that Bass is my top choice for a FA pick up this summer.

  4. Jackson-

    I have Powe listed under players who would receive partial MLE deals (not full) but because of his injury, he could potentially be willing to except even less. Latest word is that his doctors told him he'd be ready to play by February. The 'Celts didn't want to wait and instead chose to clear up a roster spot.

  5. Jackson

    Adam – gotcha. I liked him as a player before, but I would worry now about the viability of his comeback. I know it makes perfect business sense and all, but I thought the Celts jobbed him by not picking up his last year at a really cheap price (under ~$750k I believe) after he played his heart out for them. Danny Ainge is a snake in the grass.

    I have mixed feelings about AI signing. It might get us into the playoffs or it could hurt our chemistry and would almost certainly stunt development of our young wing players. Not sure if he'd really consider it strongly though, I would go to a contender if I were him.

  6. dudemanhey

    the way i see the roster….

    …there isn’t really a need to add any player through free agency. The Cats’ roster is over capacity already and if they make any move it needs to be a trade.

    1 – Felton / Augustin

    2 – Bell / Henderson

    3 – Wallace / Brown

    4 – Diaw / Radmanovic

    5- Okafor / DIop

    that still leaves Jefferson, Mohammed, & Ajinca. Not a bad line up. Obviously room for improvement. But maybe the Cats can develop the young players they’ve got now. Between Augustin, Henderson, Ajinca and Brown that is 3 first round draft picks and 1 second round pick over the last two seasons. All four may blossom into a talented core of the future.

    So rather than foolishly chase FA’s that may – or may not – be an improvement when the team needs to save money, the Cats should spend their efforts on 1) developing those young players that they’ve already invested money in and 2) finding someway to unload Mohammed’s contract if they refuse to play him.

  7. E

    dudemanhey:

    Agreed that the Bobcats have a lot of young talent that they need to develop. But young talent is unreliable. Young guys frequently don't pan out, so you have to hedge your bets by having lots of it around.

    If we have a chance to get Bass, we have to go for it. He's a perfect backup PF who would get more minutes here than in Dallas.

    The problem with the roster as you see it, is that you're plugging Derrick Brown, a 2nd round draft pick, right into the backup SF spot behind "sure to be injured at some point in the season" Gerald Wallace. Ideally, Brown can spend some time this season in the D-League getting some experience.

    I see Radmanovic as the primary backup at SF, which means we badly need a backup at PF. If we don't get Bass (or McDyess, for that matter), I fear that we're going to end up with Sean May.

  8. dudemanhey

    My understanding of Brown is that he was a steal at #40 – a first round talent that should be ready to contribute in the NBA this season.

    Radmanovic is 6'10" and capable of being a solid #2 PF.

    Rather than going after Bass or someone like that, why not just play Mohammed?

  9. dudemanhey-

    You may be right. I hope Brown is a 2nd Round Steal along the lines of a Varejao or Millsap. Just hate to going into a season banking on a second round pick though.

    If you look at Radman’s stat breakdown, he actually plays better at the PF position. I would love to see him play half his minutes at the four. He’d be decent going up against guys like Rashard Lewis and Bargnani. Of course, there’s no way Radman matches up against the Carlos Boozers and Kevin Garnetts of the world. Which is why the team needs a legitimate backup PF like Joe Smith.

    Mohammed isn’t a PF, especially not in today’s NBA. Who knows what the team will get from him this season.

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