To recap, at yesterday’s trade deadline, the Bobcats:
- Traded Gerald Wallace to the Trailblazers for Joel Pryzbilla, Sean Marks, Dante Cunningham, New Orleans’ 2011 1st round draft pick and the Trailblazers’ 2013 1st round draft pick.
- Traded Nazr Mohammed to the Thunder for Morris Peterson and DJ White
- Waived Derrick Brown, Sherron Collins and Dominic McGuire to make room on the roster. It is anticipated that Marks and Peterson may eventually be waived as well.
The Wallace trade is admittedly hard to swallow. It’s difficult to write about him without sounding histrionic. Forget that he was the last “original Bobcat” from the inaugural season of the franchise or that he had become its “face”. The face is superficial. Wallace embodied the franchise. Underappreciated, grinding away to overcome obstacles, sacrificing to offset shortcomings, eventually achieving a modicum of success and respect, only to reach a plateau that wasn’t high enough, Wallace’s arc mirrored the Bobcats’.
Though I’d been an advocate of rebuilding, I’d harbored a fantasy that that the Cats could keep Wallace around and do more of a “reboot” on the fly by moving Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and/or Mohammed. Ultimately, it seems as if the market for those guys wasn’t quite what I’d hoped it might be.
And so faced with a bloody bottom line, a capped out roster, and no better than a 50% chance at making the playoffs this year (indeed, statistical models pegged it as more like 25%), Jordan made the difficult but correct decision to initiate a rebuild by trading the most beloved player on the team for the financial relief he needs and the draft picks this team requires for the future.
Pryzbilla’s contract expires after this season, so the Bobcats effectively saved the $21 million that would have been due Gerald Wallace over the following two season. And most importantly, the Bobcats get two first round draft picks. Yes, both of these picks will likely be mid-late first round. Yes, the 2011 draft doesn’t look particularly strong. Yes, the Hornets pick won’t come around until 2013. And yes, Jordan’s history with the draft is anything but sterling.
But the object is to build a winner. Building a winner in the NBA takes stars. And small-market teams have only one way to get stars — the draft.
After trying the Larry Brown team-building model for a couple of years, it appears that Jordan has come around to the above reality. It was time, folks.
- So the Bobcats will get a look at two young power forwards. Dante Cunningham is signed to a minimal deal through the rest of the season, while DJ White is on his rookie contract through next year, with a reasonable qualifying offer for the 2012-13 season. White is the better prospect, having been selected late in the first round in the 2008 draft, but has been saddled with injuries and caught in a numbers game at the 4 spot in Oklahoma City when healthy.
- Speculation now turns to the coming offseason and whether Stephen Jackson and/or Boris Diaw can/will be traded as the next step in the rebuild. Frankly, now that Gerald Wallace is gone, I’d just as soon prefer the Cats go ahead and do that.
- The Bobcats will face Wallace and the Trailblazers next Saturday, March 5th in Portland. Then the following Friday, March 11th, the Cats will host Wallace and the Trailblazers here in Charlotte.