Charlotte Bobcats Post-Trade Deadline Blueprint

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Byron Mullens, Kris Humphries and Ben McLemore are key Bobcats offseason targets

The NBA’s Trade Deadline has come and gone with the Bobcats keeping most of their 13-win roster intact. They are still young, they are still inexperienced and they are still pretty bad. There is reason for hope however as the team’s lack of major activity at the deadline essentially telegraphed the front office’s plans going forward. Let’s take a look at the potential blueprint:

First order of business: Roster Assessment (Now – May)

The Bobcats front office must determine what they have and what they need heading into the offseason.

  • PG: Kemba Walker is awesome. Ramon Sessions is very good. Next.
  • SG: Gerald Henderson becomes a restricted free agent in July; Ben Gordon enters into the final year of his contract.
  • SF: MKG is potentially awesome; Jeffrey Taylor is signed for two more seasons at around $800k per. Next.
  • PF: Byron Mullens becomes a restricted free agent in July. Tyrus Thomas is, well, let’s get to that later.
  • C: Bismack Biyombo is young, good at many things on defense, bad at many things on offense. Brendan Haywood is a cheap backup signed for two more seasons.
  • Jeff Adrien, Gana Diop, Reggie Williams and Josh McRoberts are expiring contracts.

Second order of business: Draft Lottery, 2013 NBA Draft (May-June)

The Bobcats have THREE different scenarios which they could explore heading into the draft, one VERY likely, the others less so.*
DRAFT SCENARIO ONE: Shooting Guard (80% Likely)
With Henderson looking for a big raise, the Cats could leverage the Class of 2013′s strengths by drafting his replacement. If Charlotte nets the 1st or 2nd overall pick, they’ll likely have a shot at Kansas guard Ben McLemore. If not, Indiana’s Victor Oladipo or UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammed would be the runners-up.
DRAFT SCENARIO TWO: Center (10% Likely)
The Bobcats determine Biyombo’s lack of offense outweighs his defensive potential and select either Indiana’s Cody Zeller or Maryland’s Alex Len.
DRAFT SCENARIO THREE: Power Forward (10% Likely)
The Bobcats get the feeling that Byron Mullens would rather play elsewhere or is looking for far more money than Charlotte is willing to pay. In this case, the Bobcats select Larry Johnson-lite, UNLV’s Anthony Bennett.
LIKELY RESULT: Charlotte selects Ben McLemore, SG Kansas.
(*I’m presuming Portland’s pick owed to Charlotte falls inside the Top 12, allowing the Blazers to keep it)

Third order of business: Pre-Agency, Free Agency, Offseason Trades (July)

FREE AGENCY Step one: Once the team has drafted a SG, they’ll attempt to find a sign & trade partner for Gerald Henderson, if only for the trade exception. Should the process become drawn out, Charlotte could opt to simply renounce Henderson’s rights, freeing up his sizable cap hold ($7.75m).
FREE AGENCY Step two: Enter into negotiations with Byron Mullens. Rich Cho has always been high on the artist formerly known as BJ, the question is how much is he going to cost. Anything less than $6 million per season is probably a bargain. More than $7.5 million is overpaying. 4 years, $26 million or 2 years, $13 million sounds about right.
FREE AGENCY Step three: Amnesty Tyrus Thomas. This will be a bitter pill for Michael Jordan to swallow as he’ll have to pay Thomas $18 million over the next two seasons to play for another team (presumably overseas or in another dimension) but removing T-Time from the payroll would put the Bobcats around $9 million under the cap AFTER signing their Top 3 pick and Mullens.
FREE AGENCY Step four: Aggressively shop for an All-Star or future Lottery pick using Ben Gordon’s expiring contract ($13.2m) and the $9 million in cap space. With the new CBA penalties for luxury tax payers, someone is likely to bite. For example: a Gordon for Carlos Boozer swap could alleviate tax problems for the Bulls and return Charlotte’s future 1st round pick owed to Chicago.  If this fails…
FREE AGENCY Step five: Absorb an expiring contract with cap room (ala Kris Humphries) and parlay both Humphries and Gordon into a very real $20-$25 million in cap room the following summer (July 2014). This prevents the team from overpaying UFAs this July when half the league’s teams will have cap space with few high-level free agents to spend their money on (aka overpaying).

 

Bobcats Salary Blueprint

Select Image to Enlarge the Chart

Re-Assess: Training Camp (October)

Worse case scenario, the Bobcats enter camp with:
PG: Kemba Walker, Ramon Sessions
SG: Ben McLemore (or Victor Oladipo), Ben Gordon
SF: MKG, Jeff Taylor
PF: Byron Mullens, Kris Humphries
C: Bismack Biyombo, Brendan Haywood.
On the surface this is basically the roster they field today, behind the scenes however – between the draft picks owed and the unbelievable amount of cap space the team will have in July of ’14 (the year BEFORE they have to extend either Kemba or Biyombo) – the team could be setup for a near decade-long Playoff run. This is a far cry from where the roster was just two short seasons ago when Larry Brown left the team capped out with precious few assets.
Cheer up, Bobcats fans. It may take another 36 months but the team is on track to generate some serious Buzz for a very long time.

-ASChin

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8 Responses to “Charlotte Bobcats Post-Trade Deadline Blueprint”

  1. Dr. E
    February 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    Quick comment on the likely amnesty-ing of Tyrus Thomas. The extra cap space will be nice, surely, but to me it would be as much about projecting some self-respect as a franchise. If Cho and Dunlap’s words about creating a positive, winning culture are to be taken completely seriously, a mistake/freeloader like Thomas just has to go.

    • ASChin
      February 21, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

      Tyrus Thomas the “Freeloader”, nicely put. I’d pay double League Pass if they’d let Dunlap, Higgins, MJ and Cho unleash on Tyrus post-amnesty.

    • Luwis Nieves
      February 22, 2013 at 2:25 am #

      Waive T time Id let Ben Gordon go and go for a big preferably with a post presence to help compliment Mullens Im thinking Carlos Boozer,Al Jefferson maybe even Demarcus Cousins if we are lucky and i stress to keep Gerald Henderson with Ben Gordon gone he can put up all star numbers.

      • ASChin
        February 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

        A Boozer/Gordon trade would certainly help out both teams in the short term. I would love to see a Boozer/Mullens/Biz big man rotation next year. As far as Gordon goes, he’s gotten a lot of hate recently, some of it earned (“You need to humble yourself”), some of it due to his play style. Remember that Charlotte was gifted a probable Top 15 pick just for taking him off of Detroit’s hands and that type of asset always comes at a cost. No pain, no gain, right?

  2. Jonathan Mason
    February 22, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    I hate knowing that Gerald Henderson is on his way out. He is from N.C. and I he claims to love the organization. If he would not demand a high raise in contract, why not draft or go for a center or PF and keep Henderson and build his value? Henderson has played well for the Bobcats and he is not the problem. Defensively, this team is a mess.

    • ASChin
      February 22, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

      In the microscopic chance that Gerald or his family is reading this, let me say that we GREATLY appreciate his growth, professionalism and work ethic over the past four seasons. His game has really developed – when he arrived Gerald could hardly hit a jumpshot. Now he’s stepping into and nailing threes consistently. The issue with re-signing him comes down to cap limitations and value. If Gerald’s ceiling is “solid, non-All-Star starter” making $7 million per, why not draft someone like McLemore who could be “Ray Allen 2.0″ making $4.5m. Also Jeff Taylor shows lots of promise as a backup at both wing spots and is being paid under $1m per. Also, by the time Biz, Kemba and MKG hit their late 20s prime, Gerald will be a 30+ year old vet. Regardless of the outcome, I’m happy that he’s playing well and that he’ll have a chance to earn big money somewhere for he and his family.

      • Dr. E
        February 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

        To me, the question of how much the Bobcats should value Gerald Henderson boils down the (admittedly tired) Bill Simmons aphorism: “Whenever you have the chance to re-sign the centerpiece of the back-to-back worst team in the league, you gotta do it!”.

        When you add in the fact that the Bobcats will have, at worst, the fourth pick in the draft and that 3 of the top 7-8 prospects are SGs all with possible star potential, you’re really wasting breath trying to argue that the Bobcats should re-sign him.

  3. Brian
    February 26, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    I agree with almost everything in this article with a few minor differences.
    1. I would target Shabazz in the draft and slide him to the 2. He was the highest rated prospect coming into the year and UCLA does not display NBA talent well (think Russell Westbrook)
    2. I can’t imagine we amnesty Ty Thomas to get an average player like Humphries. If we amnesty him, it’s to go after a max free agent like Tyreke Evans, which I am all for.
    3. Most likely, we keep Ty Thomas one more year then amnesty him on his final year providing the max cap space mentioned without costing Jordan too much money in the process. I think we should preserve the cap and tank for one more year. We need to land a sure-fire superstar like Wiggins or Parker in the 2014 draft to go with the return of the Hornets name (or Flight!?).

    Roster
    PG Kemba, Sessions (love Sessions and would love to extend him)
    SG Shabazz, BG
    SF MKG, Taylor
    PF Byron Mullens, Cheap Free Agent X (Josh McRoberts?), Ty
    C Biz, Haywood

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