Say Hello to My Little Friend!

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Bobcats Crunk It Up a Notch by Trading Raja Bell for Stephen Jackson

This photo composite plainly illustrates the differences between Stephen Jackson and Raja Bell

The Bobcats surprise everybody but Mark Stein today by trading Raja Bell and Vlad Radmanovic to the Golden State Warriors for Stephen Jackson and Acie Law.  The Sporting News reaction here.  Golden State of Mind reactions here.  RealGM analysis here.

I’m literally just back in the door from Hong Kong/Macau and after reviewing almost a full week’s worth of Charlotte Bobcats Bloopers & Practical Jokes, I was 30% sure that I was going to walk away from this blog.  Just couldn’t take it anymore.  Five years of ineptitude is enough.  Time to fire them as my favorite NBA team.  Then this happens.  To quote Michael Corleone (via Silvio Dante), “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

THE GOOD NEWS IS THE BAD NEWS

First off, the deal stinks of desperation.  So it really suits the Bobcats because they ARE desperate and maybe (*fingers crossed*) Bob Johnson is finally coming to the conclusion that a popular Playoff team is more valuable on the open market than an unpopular Disaster-Squad.  Jackson is without a doubt an offensive upgrade over Raja Bell and a similarly skilled defender.  He’s immediately Charlotte’s most feared scorer (which, to be fair, is kind of like “the most nutritious KFC Bowl”) and he adds a mean streak of attitude to a franchise that’s never had one.

CAP KILLER

To make the trade, the Bobcats had to provide GS with a salary dump and they send out two decent role players who are owed a total of $18.4 million over the next two seasons in exchange for a 31-year-old wing player who’s on the books for $35.2 million over the next four.  The team has essentially taken itself out of free agency until the summer of 2012 and maybe even 2013.  Just to put this into perspective, next season the Bobcats will be paying out $40 million to the All-Star core of: Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw, Tyson Chandler & Stephen Jackson.  Then add in $13 million for backup centers Nazr Mohammed and Gana Diop and you start to see just how bad the Bobcats have been at managing their cap.  I can’t figure out who Michael Jordan is patterning his strategy after: Isiah Thomas or the country of Iceland?  Or maybe MJ just went to the movies this past weekend and figured that the world was going to end in 2012 anyway, so screw it.

RISKY BUSINESS

Jackson’s arrival is significant as it is the first time in franchise history that the team has ever courted a player rife with controversy.  Could this be a new era in BobcatLand?  Are the squeaky clean days of Matt Carroll, Brevin Knight and Emeka Okafor over and gone?  While hardcore NBA fans might remember some of SJAX’s more positive attributes, most sports fans are only aware of two:

  1. Over the past two months Stephen Jackson has thrown his team under the bus and sulked his way into a trade AFTER the Warriors graced him with an extremely generous contract extension.
  2. On the night of November 19th, 2004 during a game in Detroit, he ran into the stands and punched a bunch of people in the face for assaulting his friend Ron Artest.

*I presume that most fans have forgotten about the incident at an Indianapolis strip club in ’06 in which Jackson fired several shots from a 9mm after being taunted by the clubs patrons and “hit by a car.”  That kind of thing happens all the time these days.

I repeat, this is a desperate, risky move by the Bobcats.  The organization paid very close attention to its public image during the team’s first five seasons and when they ignored Allen Iverson during the summer, you could assume that they were simply staying the course.  The strategy is sound.  A great deal of the Charlotte Hornets’ demise can be attributed to a single trade: Larry Johnson for Anthony Mason.  In that case, the city was losing an immensely popular hero and gaining a player who was labeled “a thug” but hardly lived up to the reputation.  With Jackson, the Bobcats are importing a turbulent personality who lies somewhere in between Steve Smith and Rae Carruth (*I’m purposefully trying to beat Tom Sorenson to the punch with that reference*) and if S-JAX causes any trouble in Charlotte, the hypothetical incident might very well signal the end of the NBA in the Queen City.

IN CONCLUSION

Let’s face it.  We all went to bed last night knowing that the Bobcats stink.  And now?  Now there is a glimmer of hope that Stephen Jackson was the only missing ingredient for Playoff Success.  At the very least, he’ll make things interesting and if you are going to go down, do it like Bon Jovi told the Young Guns.  Go down in a Blaze of Glory.

-ASChin

11 thoughts on “Say Hello to My Little Friend!

  1. I'm only slightly surprised that the Bobcats would take on even more ridiculous, long-term salary. Other than that, this deal is pretty much what I expected…

    While people were fantasizing about Kevin Martin, Rudy Gay or Andre Igoudala, I said that the only way we were realistically going to upgrade the offense through a trade would be to take on someone else's overpriced malcontent.

    This is probably going to represent a slight improvement in our offensive efficiency and win total for this year, maybe next. But our long term future is even worse today than it was yesterday.

    Look at the damage that Larry Brown (and Isaiah Thomas, to be fair) did to the Knicks organization to see what the Bobcats future is. It's been several years, and the Knicks are still digging out from the rubble there — and they're in NYC with a wealthy owner.

  2. Bobcat orange?

    This is awesome! Next we can bring in a dancing bear! How about some midgets in a tiny car!?

    This franchise does not make it very easy to be a fan, but now they've made the out reach effort by bringing in a clown for our amusement. Halftime entertainment can include beer pong and then drunken boxing! It keeps getting better!

    Oh boy SJAX, if you thought you had it bad at Golden State just wait until Larry Brown tries correct the way you blink! We've never, in the history of this franchise made the right personell move, why start now?

    Here's a legitimate question: is it possible for the NBA to Un-Expand? Just call it a draw and cancel the Bobcats?

    Another query: if the Bobcats fold, how many of our players actually get picked up by other teams? Generously, five? How many would start? …

  3. reggie

    they say that NBA teams often go back to their trade partners (ie: Jason Richardson from GS), but i fear that they my end with the same result.

    remember, Jason was an amazing scorer and shot creator, but LB had problemos with his defense. so hopefully, CapnJax can defend and become a long-term solution.

    i still think the trade for Iggy was very plausable and acheiveable, but this trade almost puts us back to where we were with JRich.

    overall, great trade for the Cats (on paper), but now with a crowd at the PG spot, whos next to go? my bet would be Flip or Raymond.

  4. Brian

    I'm really hoping we flip SJax and maybe Diop and Felton for Tracy McGrady and his expiring contract. I know we suck but clear some space for FA's, get some picks, and try to get better. And we HAVE to make better draft picks. Look back at past drafts and what we've done and see who we could have gotten after we picked. Instead we took Okafor, May, Felton, G-Henderson, Ajinca, DJ, and Adam Morrison. That's some consecutive bad drafts considering we could have a franchise player in Danny Granger and some other really good players like Aaron Brooks, and Brook Lopez. It's ridiculous.

  5. The Rockets are set at PG and Diop doesn't give them anything. The addition of Jackson to Houston's rotation isn't worth the a trade.

    I am pretty sure Jackson won’t end the season as a Bobcat. JJ Hickson and Anthony Parker could help this team. Jackson appears to be asshole from afar, but I am willing to give the brother a chance. Living is Charlotte might mellow him out. Oakland is a hectic place.

    The Bobcats have entirely too many tiny guards right now. I think Ray Ray is going to get traded.

  6. Bobcat orange?: a little cynical, but I basically share your sentiments. There are basically only a few teams that each of OUR starters could go to and legitimately start.

    Reggie and Julius: While I agree that, with LB and the Bobcats, the next trade could be right around the corner, I don't think it will involve Felton.

    He can't be traded until mid-December, and he's on a 1-yr deal. Is there really a team desperate for 3-4 months of Felton? I guess maybe some playoff teams that need a better backup PG…

    More than likely, Acie Law is inactive most nights this year as he plays out his contract, and goes on to play overseas after that.

  7. reggie

    this trade, AT WORST, keeps us the same. i dont think we could get lower than where we are (were?)

    but still, AT BEST, we are a contending 8th seed. no better. this trade doesnt make us a Miami or even a Washington on offense, but it doesnt crap us out either.

    were like the Warriors in the East now.

  8. Zach

    I want us to add A.I so we have the most dysfunctional family in the NBA.

    A.I.

    Captain Jack

    Crash

    Boris

    Chandler

    Maybe we can also trade felton, Diaw and filler for Elton Brand and be butt of jokes in the nba

  9. Ross

    A.I. is about as good for team chemistry as small pox. Gimme a break guys this is the NBA not a pick up game at the Tega Cay ballpark. The Bobcats need to stop acting like the step child of the NBA and start playing basketball. Excuses? They have a ton, nobody cares about excuses. They care about wins, a respectable team and titles. Can't have one with out the other 2. Fantasy will only take this team so far. As for Stephen Jackson, Charlotte gives him an opportunity to shed his douchey image and show he's more than some primadonna who insults the integrity of the game. I'm not holding my breath. There is a curse it seems on NBA in the Queen City and it won't be broken until one person with brings an attitude that losing isn't acceptable and making excuses for haggard performances on the court isn't acceptable either. Where's Rafeal Addison?

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