What To Do with Dampier? – Part 1

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Mo Williams ©2010 NBA

Michael Jordan bragged openly last month that the team had acquired the League’s “most valuable contract” when they sent bust Tyson Chandler to Dallas in return for Erick Dampier and a couple of overpaid 12th men.  How valuable exactly?  MJ and GM Rod Higgins will have at least another month and a half to mull over the decision as they wait the mandatory 60 days before Damp, Eduardo Najera or Matt Carroll can be traded again in a package.

So what will they do with all of this “value”?
In order to answer the question, we need to first look hard at the team’s present situation.

Issue Number One: Finances.

Bobcats Salaries August_3_10

Capped out? How about taxed out. At the moment, the ‘Cats have around $78 million in salaries committed for next season. This when you factor in Tyrus Thomas’s new contract, Damp’s expiring, Shaun Livingston’s (reported) two year deal and Gerald Wallace’s $1 million All-Star and All-defense bonus. Any move that the Bobcats make with Dampier must address the financial issue first and foremost. As competitive as MJ is, he’s not going to pay luxury tax money on a fringe Playoff team that’s still losing millions.

Issue Number Two: The Roster.

The only way the ‘Cats are going to gain any traction in Charlotte is by winning, and a single first round Playoff exit isn’t going to cut it. MJ will need to build a perennial winner, if not contender, in order to lure in a broader audience. Right now, the Bobcats lack a true starting point guard and are thin at center. The Bobcats will need to both address the team’s financial situation and improve the product on the floor.

DAMPIER SOLUTION PART ONE: WAIVE HIM

Waiving Dampier before training camp would clear over $13 million from the team’s books, bringing their current payroll figure down to a manageable $65 million. Not an ideal cap situation but the move would at least give the organization some breathing room in taking on a little salary in a trade or in signing a few street free agents for depth.

The team could then fill their starting point guard void by making a trade with, say Cleveland, using Nazr Mohammad’s expiring contract and D.J. Augustin in a Cavs salary dump. The Cavs seemed more than just a little excited about acquiring Ramon Sessions last month and moving Mo Williams for cap flexibility and a young PG prospect could be the best offer on the table.

To fill out the center rotation, MJ and Higgins could attempt to re-sign Dampier to a one or two year contract at less than $5 million per season (unlikely). They could also dangle Boris Diaw to a team like the Knicks to bring back a center or more cap space.

A Knicks trade would unfortunately return Eddy Curry (expiring contract) in exchange for Diaw and either Carroll or Najera. Now would be a good time for me to explain that I’m not writing about what I’d like to see, but rather what is most likely.
The ‘Cats have shown an unhealthy interest in Curry over the years and it wouldn’t surprise me if they made this move. A center platoon of Curry and Gana Diop sounds absolutely terrible and it probably would be but both of those players have complementary skill sets if either is up for putting forth an actual effort.
Though it is noteworthy that Curry has played a total of 74 minutes in the past two NBA seasons.

Another possible destination for Diaw would be Golden State, given Higgins (now limited) connections there and Don Nelson’s (if he returns) love of the small ball. Perhaps Higgins could manufacture a Diaw / Andris Biedrins swap? Biedrins is very much on the trading block but the Bobcats would have to be certain that a somewhat undersized 24 year old Russian, who’s owed $36 million over the next four seasons is the longterm answer in the middle.

Issue Number One: Solved.
Bobcats Baseline - Salaries, Dampier Decision Part 1

In this scenario, the Bobcats would be safely under the League’s luxury tax for the next three seasons (albeit capped out) with the ability to sign a couple of veteran minimum free agents (see Flip Murray, Stephen Graham) as needed for injury replacements/depth.

Issue Number Two: Solved(?).

Bobcats Baseline - Dampier Decision Part 1

So basically we’re taking a 44 win team and replacing Diaw, Raymond Felton, Augustin, Chandler and Mohammed with Biedrins, Mo Williams, Shaun Livingston and a full season of Tyrus Thomas. At the very least, the team should replicate their ’09-’10 success and could possibly build on it as Williams’ consistent shooting and Playoff experience will slightly upgrade the point guard position. A Biedrins/Diop platoon could work well against the majority of the League’s centers (outside of maybe Dwight Howard and Yao Ming) and Livingston is a massive upgrade at the backup point.
The key factor here is Tyrus Thomas. He and Diaw are completely different players. Diaw was an unheralded on-the-ball defender who could occasionally explode for 20 plus points per game while extending the defense with his three point shooting. Tyrus works more like a taller Gerald Wallace, grabbing rebounds, blocking shots and relying on either put-backs or a steady fifteen footer for his offense. If Coach Brown can do for Thomas what he did for Crash, Bobcats fans will be in for a quite treat.

DAMPIER SOLUTION PART TWO?

Coming Soon…

Until then, Enjoy the Offseason Bobcats Fans.

-ASChin

53 thoughts on “What To Do with Dampier? – Part 1

  1. After reading all of this, two things are certain. My eyes are now bleeding and I want to shoot myself in the foot. By the looks of things Bobcat fans don't have a lot to look forward to.

  2. justin

    I'd be happy with the trade above. I'm come to the realization that CP3 isn't coming, so to be honest I'd actually be thrilled with the above. I've always liked Mo Williams and I think this team could use his shooting.

  3. Tyler

    yea Mo Williams is a good shooter but Biedras seems like when he gets the miniutes that he is just as good as Chandler and i mean come on Tyrus compared to Boris it could either be better or just the same. so the worst case scenerio seems to be we just stay the same. the only problem with that is every team we gota beat for a playoff spot have gotten better

  4. Jack

    I agree with justin. We lost games last year because we didnt have a pure shooter who would always hit the open three. Williams can hit it, and so can Carrol. Also, you cant deny that the Solution 1 first unit is better than last years playoff team. I would love to see this happen

  5. How would this scenario not improve the Bobcats for 2010-11? Upgrades at starting PG and PF. If Mo Williams can stay in front of Jameer Nelson in the playoffs, that's enough improvement for me. Keep in mind the Bobcats gave up their 3rd and 4th string centers in the playoffs for Dampier.

  6. Leroy

    funny how dampier contract matches the contract of billups and at the same time denver wants to keep melo…..if this team really reminds me of the detroit pistons back in the days of 2004…

  7. Stackhouse future nb

    I love this roster but im not sure of getting rid of Dj augtin i belive within the next 2 years he can become a great player and i get tyson chandler going but alexis ajinca should have stayed i think he has unlimted potential and could have been an all star cailber center and he would help space the defense cuz he can shoot

  8. charlie

    DJ needs to be given a chance to run the team before being traded. Billups wasnt a star until he was given opportunity. Also, why not pick up Delonte West as well since he is FA now. He can play PG in LB's system. Go out and sign Patty Mills

  9. Leroy-

    As you'll see in part two of my column, trading Dampier straight up for another player (like Billups) isn't an option. The 'Cats are much too far over the luxury tax for something like that to happen.

    Everyone-

    To me, this is the (most realistic) best case scenario the Bobcats could hope for.

    I'm not totally sold that a Biedrins/Thomas frontcourt would work but he's the best center prospect currently on the trade market and seems like a younger, healthier version of Tyson Chandler.

    Another option I was toying with was an Okafor/Collison scenario that would send back Diaw and Augustin.

    The Hornets would unload at least $32 million in future payroll – which I'm sure they would love to do – and could free up more by salary dumping Diaw to Toronto.

    I just don't think that the Hornets are ready to give up on Collison with Chris Paul's future up in the air.

  10. Appreciate everyone's optimism toward's D.J. but let's be honest, he hasn't shown us once that he's capable of starting in the League.

    After having moderate success getting to the rim in his rookie season, Augustin was shut down completely last year during drives to the paint. Because of his size, he's a defensive liability against pretty much 3/4s of the League's PGs. However, if he can rediscover his outside shot from year one, I think D.J. could be one of the top backup PGs in the game. He'd be great on a team like the Lakers or Dallas as tempo-changer. He also tends to shoot lights out in New Orleans whenever the Bobcats play there.

  11. Actually, let me throw it back to you guys…

    Do any of you think that the Hornets would be willing to part with Collison in an Okafor salary dump?

    Even with CP3's future with the franchise very much in doubt?

  12. Leroy

    ASChin

    i think so.

    as long as they solve the problem of salary dump, they can rebuild the team and sign big names even if paul leave the team 2 years later. they can also use paul next year to trade 2 stars at least to their team if paul is really desperate to leave.

    since they are in rebuilding mode, besides darren collison and marcus thornton,i dont see any promising prospects on their team.

    could have package david west along with paul next year to rebuild the WHOLE team for new orleans pretty much

  13. justin

    ASChin,

    I think I agree with Leroy…I tend to think NO would give up Collison in order to keep Paul. I saw a report on Hoopsworld soon after the so called "meeting" between Paul and the Hornets, and word was they were targeting Melo, as he was one of preferences of who he would like to play with. With that being said, if they were to go after Melo, why would they keep Collison? I dont know, my gut says they'd do it.

  14. I doubt the Hornets give up Collison. Players on rookie deals who perform as well as Collison did last year are worth their weight in gold due to their high efficacy:cost ratio.

    The only way they get traded is to get a superstar, or if the team is in huge trouble financially and need him as bait to do a salary dump — which is possible in the Hornets case.

    It's the same reason I think McGee is untouchable for the Wiz — unless they are desperate to dump Arenas' salary and need to use McGee as the bait.

  15. Tyler

    like i know this is last option but somebody told me that Kwame Brown wouldnt come to Charlotte trust me i dont want it to come to Brown but i was wondering why he wouldnt?

  16. Jody – The Bobcats are still working on discovering their personal brand.

    With all of the mainstream/entry-level NBA scenesters jumping on to the Lebron train, Michael Jordan is just trying his best to make NBA basketball in Charlotte relevant again.

    This team needs more personality. Where's the Frank Brickowski of Charlotte circa 2010? Who is the Bobcats equivalent to Johnny Newman? (via worthless jumpshot / real hops)

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