Charlotte Bobcats 2009 Free Agency

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2009 Charlotte Bobcats Free Agency

Mid-Level Madness!

UPDATED: JULY 5, 9:52pm

As the Observer’s Rick Bonnell pointed out yesterday, the Charlotte Bobcats have entered the summer at or above the NBA salary cap.  Once Raymond Felton is re-signed (expected to be around $7 million/season) and both draft picks’ deals are finalized, the ‘Cats should find themselves at around $60 million in total salaries for next season; about $3 million over the League’s projected $57 million cap.

Since the NBA has a “soft cap” the only way that the Bobcats could make a major free agent signing is through cap exceptions.  Wikipedia has a concise definition of the cap exceptions most important to the Bobcats this season; the Mid-level and Bi-annual Cap Exceptions:

Mid-level exception

A team is allowed to sign one player to a contract equal to the average NBA salary, even if the team is over the salary cap already, or if the signing would put them over the cap. This is known as the Mid-level exception (MLE). The MLE may be used on an individual free agent or split among multiple free agents, and is available to any team that exceeds the salary cap at the beginning of the offseason. The Mid-Level Exception for the 2007-08 NBA season was $5.36 million. The MLE is $5.585 million for the 2008-09 NBA regular season.

An example would be the Toronto Raptors‘ acquisition of Jason Kapono during the 2007 off-season.

Bi-annual exception

The bi-annual exception may be used to sign any free agent to a contract starting at $1.672 million in 2005-06, but cannot be used two years in a row (and if the $1 million exception from the previous CBA was used in 2004-05, the bi-annual exception cannot be used in 2005-06). Like the mid-level exception, the $1 million exception can also be split among more than one player, and can be used to sign players for up to two years, with raises limited to 8% per year. This exception was referred to as the “$1 million exception” in the 1999 CBA, although it was only valued at $1 million for the first year of the agreement.

An example of the $1 million exception was the Los Angeles Lakers‘ signing of Karl Malone to a contract before the 2003-04 season.

As the Full Mid-Level only allows the Bobcats to sign a player to a maximum ~$6 million/year salary, we can pretty much rule the ‘Cats out of some of the bigger name FAs like Lamar Odom, Paul Millsap or David Lee.

The Sporting News has a great free agent tracker that breaks down this summer’s top free agents by position.  I’ll couple that with John Hollinger’s excellent “Bang for the Buck” list to put together some possible Bobcats Free Agent signings:

FULL MID-LEVEL

This list includes players who potentially could sign a 2-3 year deal with the Bobcats at the full mid-level exception (~$6 million/per).

  1. Allen Iverson SG
    The latest news has Iverson interested in Memphis (???) and Bonnell reports that ‘Cats GM Rod Higgins has yet to contact AI’s agent.  Iverson likely won’t command anything more than the full-midlevel and a one or two year deal for the vet makes a lot of sense for a team in desperate need of scoring.
    UPDATE: Bonnell responded to my question, putting the chances of the ‘Cats signing AI at 5%, McDyess at 10%, Bass at 20%.
  2. Rasheed Wallace PF/C
    Although ‘Sheed would be a great fit in Charlotte – first as a player and then later as a potential coaching successor to Larry Brown – it looks like the former Tar Heel will be signing with a contender like San Antonio or Boston this off-season.
    UPDATE: Fox Sports is reporting that ‘Sheed just signed a 2-year full mid-level deal with the Celtics, taking him off of the market.
  3. Brandon Bass PF
    Rod Higgins has apparantly contacted the agents for both Bass and Antonio McDyess, as the team looks to shore up the backup PF position.  Bass is only 24 and has just come off of two quality seasons in Dallas backing up the 4-spot.  He’s an excellent offensive option and a strong defender.  Other teams are aware of this as well, so it’s likely that Bass will command a multi-year, full mid-level deal.
    UPDATE: Bonnell reports that a team has apparently offered Bass the full mid-level over 5 years and that the team was probably not the Bobcats.  He does however speculate that a sign-and-trade scenario could unfold involving Bass.
    Sign and Trade deals are difficult and (for most NBA fans) extremely complicated to understand.  Check out this link from the NBA Salary Cap FAQ and this one from Wikipedia for more information.  I’m at a loss for the last time a double sign-and-trade was made.  The last one I could remember involved Eddie Curry going to the Knicks for some other chunky contracts a few years back.  Anybody have a more recent example?

Partial Mid-Level

These players shouldn’t and couldn’t command a full mid-level from any team this summer but would be quality additions to the team.

  1. Antonio McDyess PF
    The 34-year old, former #2 overall pick can still bring it – he nearly averaged a double-double last season – and would be a great veteran presence in the locker room.  Imagine Juwan Howard: EVOLUTION.
  2. Anthony Carter PG
    Carter is the kind of veteran 3rd PG that Larry Brown loves and would be a great fit on a team with two young PGs like the Bobcats.
  3. Dahntay Jones SG
    If the Bobcats conclude that the Gerald Henderson Experiment is not yet ready for primetime, then fellow Dookie Jones would offer a nice buffer until Henderson is ready to go.
  4. Leon Powe PF
    Powe is a wiry PF who seems to be custom built to guard the new NBA PF prototype – long, rangy players who can shoot the three.  Three years in Boston studying “D” under Tom Thibodeau isn’t bad on a resume either.
    UPDATE: As I commented already below, Powe is on schedule to return around Feb ’10.
  5. Joe Smith PF
    Doesn’t seem too long ago that Smith was being traded around the League as a playoff difference maker.  Smith still has abilities and would be a solid alternative to McDyess or Bass if the ‘Cats can’t get a deal done with either one of their preferred FAs.

Bi-Annual/Minimum Salary Exceptions

These players probably won’t see anything above the League minimum but offer low-risk/high-reward potential.

  1. Ike Diogu PF
    He’s put up numbers and shown potential wherever he’s gone.  Work habits aside, he’d be a nice insurance policy at the 4-spot at or near the League minimum.
  2. Rodney Carney SF
    Carney reeks of this year’s Shannon Brown.  A guy coming off of a first-round contract, barely staying in the League.  Like Shannon, Carney’s an atheletic defender and a decent finisher – and a poor shooter.  Good get at this price.
  3. Sean May PF
    If he signs at or near the League minimum, May would be a decent gamble backing up Boris Diaw.  Next season would be his second coming off of micro-fracture surgury and May should be back to form.  Jokes aside, there’s no denying that when he’s been healthy and in shape, he’s been effective.
    UPDATE: According to May’s Twitter page, he just played in the NC PRO AM Tourney.  I can’t believe I just referenced Sean May’s Twitter account.

-ASChin

Bobcats Draft Rumors – Roundup

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T-Will at 12?

Editor’s Note: We’ll continue to post updates to this thread as we head towards Thursday’s Draft.  It’s a blog within a blog!

MJ shooting down T-Will?

According to ESPN.com, Michael Jordan nixed the Terrence Williams “Promise” after the Henderson/T-Will workout Monday and would rather have the team trade the pick or select Wake Forest’s James Johnson.

T-Will going 11th to New Jersey?!?!?!

ESPN NBA Draft God Chad Ford updated his mock draft twice on Wednesday — he’s up to v6.2 as I write this.  Unfortunately, Ford has New Jersey taking probable Bobcats target Terrence Williams with the 11th pick, leaving the Cats with Gerald Henderson (or the possibility of trading down).  Ford speculates that even though Williams skipped a second look with the Nets on Tuesday, the Nets have him above Henderson and Hansbrough on their draft board.

So does this make the Nets like a teenage girl who sees her old boyfriend with a rival female, then goes all psycho-bitch and becomes obsessed with getting him back?

ESPN NBA Underlord Chris Broussard offers a few more tidbits about the Nets draft preparations (scroll down to the June 24, 5:53 PM update).  Apparently, Brandon Jennings was great in that Tuesday workout (the one that T-Will bailed on), but will nonetheless slip by due to the feeling that he’s a few years away from really contributing at the NBA level.  Broussard offers that the Nets do like Hansbrough, but probably not enough to spend the 11th pick on him.

In other words, (continuing the teenage girl comparison) they like Hansbrough, but don’t “like-like” him.

Raja to Golden State?

Golden State appears to be exploring possibilities to improve on the defensive end in hopes of making a strong run to the playoffs next season. One trade that has reportedly been offered by the Charlotte Bobcats that may help on that front would involve packaging Kelenna Azubuike and Marco Belinelli in exchange for Raja Bell. The Warriors are pondering the offer, but would have to get Azubuike’s consent to make the trade unless they decided to wait until July 24th.

Reported at DraftExpress.com.

Bill Simmons & Chad Ford like Iverson, Williams and the Bobcats as a Playoff team in ’09-’10

In the latest episode of “The B.S. Report” Bill Simmons and Chad Ford end the show with a bit on Iverson/Coach Brown/Terrence Williams and the Bobcats future.

Download the podcast here.

Dalembert Trade?

The Dalembert rumors don’t seem to want to go away.  This report from Philly has the Bobcats sending Radmanovic, Mohammed and the 12 pick to Philly for Dalembert and the 17.  Not sure how Samuel fits in with Okafor so if this deal were to go down, look for a blockbuster Emeka trade post-moratorium.

Rod Higgins gives Promise Ring to T-Will?

ESPN.com reports that Terrence Williams has pulled out of his workout scheduled today with the New Jersey Nets citing an “ankle injury.”  Rumor has it that T-Will was pulled aside yesterday after his one-on-one workout with Gerald Henderson and given a promise that if he’s there at number 12, the Bobcats will take him.

Seems like the Coach Brown, MJ, and Higgins agree with Jay Bilas.

Gerald Henderson shouldn’t feel bad though as the Chicago Tribune reports that the Bulls are trying to trade up into the lottery for him.

Also, Bonnell just reported that the Bobcats are not extending a qualifying offer to RFA Sean May.  We saw this one coming.  Don’t be surprised if May is brought back at a lower number later next month.

2 Ways to the Playoffs without A.I.

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Al Jefferson and Monta Ellis would be great fits for the '09-'10 Charlotte Bobcats

For those of you familiar with this site, you’ve no doubt stumbled across a few of my “Pro–Iverson” posts.  As an unrestricted free-agent, Allen Iverson makes a lot of sense for the Bobcats as a much needed scorer.  And by signing A.I. versus trading for another high-profiled player, you wouldn’t necessarily have to lose any assets in order to bring him in.
That said, there’s been a lot of controversy with this theory and I think it’s time to offer up some alternate ways in which the Bobcats could remedy their greatest need this offseason.

Trade Scenario #1 – Al Jefferson.

Bobcats trade Emeka Okafor and the 12th pick to Minnesota for Al Jefferson and the 18th pick.

Okay.  Some of you are going to say that Minnesota would never make this trade.  Not in a million years.  I say they would and here’s why.

Continue reading

The Lottery is Over: Higgins Doin’ Work

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Bobcats GM Rod Higgins has some work ahead of him this summer
Bobcats GM Rod Higgins has some work ahead of him this summer

Now that the light drama of the 2009 NBA Draft Lottery is behind us, GM Rod Higgins can finally put to rest those dreams of Blake Griffin decked out in orange & blue and get back to reality.
With five weeks to go until Draft Day the Bobcats have some work to do.

“We’re broke.”

It’s no secret that the ‘Cats have been hemorrhaging cash since their ill-conceived inception 5+ seasons ago. You know how it goes: When you’re broke there are two things you can do. Save More Money + Make More Money.

SAVE MONEY ACTION STEP #1a: Unload Nazr Mohammed by bundling him with the 12th Pick.

Bonnell tossed out the idea this morning as being “crazy.” Yeah, it’s crazy if you’re the GM of another franchise and accept this deal. No way the Bobcats get so lucky as to have somebody take Mohammed’s $13.2 million in exchange for a low lottery pick in a weak draft.

#1b: Unload Nazr Mohammed by trading him for another Financial Eyesore.

Since the Bobcats admit to needing more depth at PF and SG, perhaps the ‘Cats could shop Mohammed’s relatively short deal in conjunction with a 2nd-rounder or two for someone like Sacramento’s Francisco Garcia who the Kings owe $23 million plus over the next four seasons.
You could also throw out an offer of Mohammed and the 12th Pick to Phoenix for Leandro Barbosa and see if cash-strappedCheapskate” Robert Sarver would bite in order to save $14 million big ones.
And then there’s the pesky Jamaal Tinsley rumor that just won’t go away. Ugh. While the salaries match up okay and it’s always nice to have depth at the point, do you really want another poor-shooting-shooting-first PG on the team? Especially one with a questionable reputation like Tinsley’s?

Of course, there’s always the “#1c” strategy of keeping the pick, finding a gem in the late-lottery and holding onto Mohammed until next year until he becomes a much more enticing expiring contract but given the odds of finding a decent player at number 12 and given the Bobcats inability to draft properly, I think we’d all be much better off if they just moved the pick.

SAVE MONEY ACTION STEP #2: Re-sign Sean May at the League minimum with a team option for a second year.

This is good deal for Sean and he owes the organization big for stealing a multi-million dollar paycheck for 4 years. Next season will be Sean’s second back from micro-fracture surgery and IF he can get into decent physical shape this offseason, there is no reason why he can’t be a solid backup PF for the ’09-’10 Charlotte Bobcats.

MAKE MONEY ACTION STEP #1: Sign Allen Iverson to a mid-level deal.

Is it controversial? Yes.
Could he endanger team chemistry? Yes.
Will he make the Bobcats relevant in the national media? Yes.
Will he sell tickets and jerseys? Absolutely.
This is a no-brainer for the organization. Since when does a household name player come along at such an attractive price in a buyer’s market? We’ve talked about it before here at the Baseline. Iverson in blue & orange next season sells jerseys, season tickets, gets the team nationally televised games and, more importantly, Iverson becomes the scorer that the ‘Cats have needed since Day 1.  No more hot-potato as the shot clock winds down, just give the ball to AI and get back on D.

-ASCHIN

Wanna Win 50+ Games Next Season? Here’s the Answer.

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Felton for Iverson

This has been the best season – by far – to be a Charlotte Bobcats fan.  It is April 3rd, and the Cats find themselves only a game and a half back of Chicago for the 8th playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.  Their 34 wins are a franchise high and even if they don’t make the playoffs this season, Larry Brown has made a tremendous impact on the team’s culture and its players.  He’s taught them how to win.

Many fans believe that if the current roster had been together from the beginning of training camp the discussion would be as to which seed the Cats would be vying for, not if they’d make the playoffs at all.  That’s probably true and (barring a rash of injuries) the ’09-’10 Charlotte Bobcats as currently configured probably win 45 games and make the playoffs as a 6th seed – taking a team such as the Orlando Magic to 6 or 7 games and then heading home come early May.

But if the Bobcats want to be more than just ordinary playoff fodder, there is a practical and logical Answer.

Allen Iverson says that he’d rather retire than come off of the bench in Detroit.  No need to hang it up just yet AI, just head South and start for the ’09-’10 Bobcats.

Think about it.  AI is a perfect fit for Charlotte:

  • A mature Iverson re-teaming with his old coach is a great story and a great fit.
  • The Bobcats desperately need a guy who can finish and score a basket when it matters.  In his “worst” year as a pro, Iverson is still averaging 17.5 ppg this season.
  • Attendance: Iverson continues to be a massive draw wherever he goes.  He may not be the Bobcats best player but he’ll definitely be the most identifiable.  AI’s jersey’s still rank among the top 10 in NBA sales every year.

Add to this the fact the Allen will probably come cheap.  He’s an unrestricted FA after the season ends and many experts (including ESPN.com’s John Hollinger) have suggested that he’ll be lucky to get more than the full mid-level exception from his next team.  That’s great for the Bobcats because they can open that mid-level up by not resigning Raymond Felton (a move that in itself would excite a lot of savvy fans).  Yes, Iverson is 9 years older than Felton but c’mon – would you rather have Gana Diop over the next two seasons or Shaq at the same price?  The Bobcats aren’t “building for the future” anymore.  They can’t afford to.  Jordan, Higgins, and Bob Johnson understand that if this team doesn’t start winning big and attracting more fans that their collective futures will not be pretty.  Iverson coming to Charlotte puts them in a better position to win now and to attract casual basketball fans to boot.

Your 2009-2010 Charlotte Bobcats:

PG: Allen Iverson/DJ Augustin
SG: Raja Bell/Iverson/1st Round Draft Pick in ’09 or Cartier Martin
SF: Gerald Wallace/Vlad Radmanovic
PF: Boris Diaw/Alexis Ajinca
C: Emeka Okafor/Gana Diop

With this lineup you have Boris run the show similar to how Anthony Mason ran the offense from the “point forward” position under Don Nelson and Dave Cowans/Paul Silas.  Iverson takes all of the shots that Raymond currently shoots but actually makes them and gets respect (thus calls) from the officials while doing so.  DJ comes off of the bench as the “true PG.”  The team drafts a “big” two guard or PG in the late-lottery mid-first round who can be groomed to replace AI/Bell.

If the Bobcats can pull off this move – by convincing AI to come to Charlotte and reunite with Coach Brown on an up and coming team – there is no doubt that the team wins 50+ games next season and challenges for a top 4 seed (and home court) in the East.

-ASChin