The season will begin just hours from now and I’m super excited. Gerald, Jack, Tyrus, DJ, and Boris get ready for a showdown in Dallas against Dirk and his crew. Man, I can’t wait. It’s been a long off-season, so let’s just get down to the best things to look forward to in this new season of Bobcats basketball.
We’re all aware that the ‘Cats don’t dominate anyone by outscoring them. This team had the best defense in the league, and with another year of cohesion in Larry Brown’s system they can only improve. How many blocks will Tyrus and Gerald combine for this year?
#2. The Youth
Larry kept Derrick Brown and Gerald Henderson on the bench last season. Now, we’re gonna see those rookies of last season team with third-year point guard D.J. Augustin to infuse some new energy into the team. We haven’t seen the peak of any of their abilities, so this season should be full of surprises. Let’s see what happens when they get those fresh legs to spell Jack and Crash.
#3. The Next Trade
C’mon, it’s inevitable. Trading is a big part of the Charlotte Bobcats culture. In-season trades seem to be even more appealing to Larry Brown. When and what can we expect with the next player swap – that’s the constant question with this team.
#4. Crash Continues
Gerald Wallace is hitting the pinnacle of his career. After last season’s break out performance, we should expect to see Crash take that final step and become a dominant player. His defense is irreplaceable, but what if he made another stride offensively? This guy would be just about as good as it gets.
#5. Tyrus’ Turn
Can Tyrus Thomas make his doubters just shut the hell up? Will Larry Brown mold this guy into an All-Star? He has the physical tools. With the proper guidance, Tyrus just might be an amazing player. At the least, he’s going to be a fan favorite this season.
If you didn’t know by now, ESPN The Magazine teamed up with a sister company (under the ABC/Disney mega-corp) to create some very cool and geeky comic book style superhero illustrations for the publication’s NBA Season Preview. There are some pretty interesting takes on the concept of blending fantastical heroes of the Marvel universe with the on-court superstars of the NBA.
Of course, our first impulse was to check out the Bobcats “cover” treatment. It’s interesting to see Air Jordan as the centerpiece, imagined as second-tier Marvel hero Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson in the Iron Man movies). While I’d like to see Gerald or Jack sketched into some turbo-intense action, it’s probably safe to say that Jordan is the most recognizable and influential figure of the organization.
You can take a look at a preview of all the team covers here. I think the Bulls, Thunder, Rockets and Nets are pretty sweet ideas. The Cavs concept is just too true.
If you’re bored of staring at your computer, you can grab the newest issue of ESPN The Magazine, featuring this NBA Geekfest on your newstands this weekend.
All Summer, Charlotte’s GM Worked Hard To Avoid This Situation. But, It’s Now On DJ Augustin To Lead The Bobcats
As the Bobcats sputtered through their first Playoff ride last spring, Charlotte fans seemed finished with former starting point guard, Raymond Felton. Despite the poor play of his understudy, DJ Augustin, the clamor over Felton’s contract expectations and Playoff stumble signaled the end of the love for the ex-Tarheel. The Bobcats made no effort to resign Felton, despite the lack of a viable replacement at the point guard spot.
Yea, it was the free-wheelin’ free agency season of 2010, so we all believed that the trade-happy Bobcats were surely gonna find someone to play the point better than any Bobcat before him.
Over the summer, Toronto had a deal worked out with Charlotte and Phoenix that would have delivered Jose Calderon as the new starting point guard for the Bobcats. Just before that trade agreement was finalized, the basketball gods interceded to notify Michael Jordan that he was about to make another boneheaded management decision. Quickly, that situation was diffused and Toronto was stuck with their oft-injured Spaniard. Still, we all knew that something was going to happen over the summer. Something had to happen, right?
The Erick Dampier trade seemed promising, until no other team showed the slightest interest in Dampier’s supposedly valuable $13 million non-guaranteed contract. It really seemed like the Bobcats were lining up their chess pieces for a masterful play, but then they just left the room, hopped on the sofa and turned on the Playstation.
Shooting Bricks In Free Agency
Last week’s “news” report about Devin Harris finding his way to Charlotte in the Melo-to-the-Nets swap was just enough to make me believe that Charlotte’s front office had set themselves up perfectly to take advantage of the messy circumstances that are inevitable in the NBA. Man, I was crazy psyched for that trade to go through. In my excitement, I high-fived fellow baseliner Deesdale, and even left a semi-drunken voice mail to Bobcats Baseline’s foreign correspondent, A.S. Chin. (He’s 12 hours ahead, so maybe he’d know when the deal was finalized – right?)
Then, we found out that the super-complicated, 4 team trade was crumbling and it was later reported that Devin Harris hated the idea of playing in Charlotte. So, it was back to the drawing board for GM Rod Higgins and Michael Jordan as training camp was set to begin. Last week, Larry Brown gave us the old “Larry Brown” routine and griped about the state of the roster during his first meeting with the media. The next day, he praised some guys for their hard work and conditioning, and so it goes…
Now, As It Stands – 6′ 0″
Today, we’re still wondering what the Bobcats are going to do to get an NBA starter-quality point guard? It looks like DJ Augustin is next up on the depth chart, but it’s clear that the team has scrambled all summer to avoid this situation. Can Larry Brown turn Augustin into a capable starter over the next few weeks? It was rumored that Larry Brown made the call to draft Augustin over Brook Lopez. How long can Larry try to justify that opinion before he sends DJ off, like so many past Bobcats?
Another way to consider this would be to ask – Can DJ Augustin turn himself into a true, starter-quality point guard in the next few weeks? The Bobcats have given the media some nice bits about DJ’s “confidence” and new assertiveness as a leader. Now that he holds the reins, it would be great to see DJ make huge strides as a player. Still, I have to wonder if he’s got what it takes to meet Larry Brown’s demands and the fans’ expectations.
The Charlotte Bobcats’ Key Offseason Asset Will Likely Be Dealt Soon
Over and over this summer, we’ve heard that the Bobcats could package up Erick Dampier’s rare $13 million expiring contract to help acquire another talent to strengthen their roster for the upcoming season. Initially, it seemed as though the club would have been fine to simply waive Dampier, get under the luxury tax level and then resign the veteran Center for a bargain deal. The 6′ 11″ Dampier wasn’t too interested in working out such a sweet deal with Jordan and the Cats, and Charlotte had to bring in another big man for security – Kwame Brown. Due to NBA rules, the Bobcats were unable to combine Dampier with another player in a trade for a period of 60 days. That period is over on Monday, September 13th.
Now, the clock is ticking and it appears that the Bobcats have two options.
Option 1: Pick Up The Phone.
Charlotte can work their tails off to line up a deal (likely involving multiple teams) to get some type of return for Dampier’s expiring contract. For many teams, the contract could be the fastest way to get their finances in order. Such an asset could help a team initiate a “rebuilding cycle” or simply get below the luxury tax level while assembling a championship contender. At the moment, the Bobcats seem interested in testing the waters to determine if they can benefit more by getting a solid player in return for Dampier’s rare contract terms.
Option 2: Waive & Save.
The Bobcats can waive Dampier, taking advantage of his expiring deal to get their own financial house in order. After letting Dampier go, the team could focus their efforts to trade Boris Diaw or Nazr Mohammed (who is in the last year of his deal) in exchange for any necessary roster pieces.
Can They Screw This Up?
Ultimately, the only thing the Bobcats could really do wrong would be to pick up a bad contract in exchange for Dampier. Charlotte tends to swap a lot of players and take on financial baggage along the way. This is an opportunity for Charlotte to straighten out a few of their missteps and get their financial footing for their next wave of building a better team.
ESPN.com just posted this story about Kwame Brown coming to the Charlotte Bobcats.
A reunion that no one in the NBA expected will be taking place in Charlotte this season when Kwame Brown suits up for the Michael Jordan-owned Bobcats.
Brown’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPN.com on Monday that the 27-year-old has agreed to sign a one-year deal with the Bobcats.
The deal, for the league’s veteran minimum, will bring Brown and Jordan back together after Jordan drafted the power forward straight out of high school in Washington with the No. 1 overall pick in 2001 in a move that worked out disastrously for both of them.
Man, what are the Bobcats thinking on this one?
Could they be securing another Center because Dampier, Diop, or Mohammed will be traded?
After browsing through the Baskonia section of noiciasdealava.com (Alava Daily News’ website) yesterday, I noticed a headline about former Charlotte Bobcat Walter Herrmann. It looks like Herrmann has had talks with the Bobcats and could be returning to the NBA this fall. He’s a free agent and will likely come at a price that the Bobcats can fit into their payroll.
Herrmann’s first NBA opportunity with Charlotte in 2006-2007 showed flashes of brilliance and potential. The following season, Herrmann was stuck on the bench by the bumbling head coach Sam Vincent. He was shipped off to Detroit with Primoz Brezec and played sparse minutes with the Pistons. There were certainly a few fans that loved Herrmann during his short stint with the Cats. To some, the “what could have been” speculations of Walter Herrmann became a kind of legend. It was the type of legend to add on top of the pile of other Bobcats mistakes. His physical abilities, energy and long-range shooting settled into a sore spot for everyone that questioned the Nazr Mohammed trade.
If Walter Herrmann does return to Charlotte, does this signal another roster move at the Power Forward spot?
Also we have to wonder, will Walter Herrmann will be the best NBA Player ever?
Eastern Conference Finals Prediction:
D-Wade / Lebron / Bosh vs. Jack / Crash / Fabio