What’s Up With Larry Brown?

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Does Larry Want Out Of Charlotte?

Some may recall how Coach Larry Brown purposely and strategically avoided answering questions about returning to coach the Bobcats next season. The local press tried to ask questions that left Larry with some wiggle room, and he obliged by telling Charlotte that he’d think it over and figure it out this summer.

Well as it turns out,  NBA head coaches have duties that don’t allow them to take the full summer off.  Larry Brown was back in Charlotte for a few days to scout some second-tier college draft talent at the team’s practice facility. This time around, the press wanted to get the word on Brown’s decision. Rather than smile and tell the local media that he was happy to announce that he’d be back on the sidelines for the Bobcats, he snubbed the writers and camera guys and tried to focus on the basketball-oriented part of his job. After some griping and guessing by the local newspaper writers, Brown gave the reporters a few statements to chew on after the next day’s workout session.

Regarding his status for the upcoming season, Larry shared, “I’m here coaching. Obviously, I’m under contract and doing my job.”  Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell pushed him for more and he gave a less-than-enthusiastic reply of “I’m here. If I wasn’t here, it’d be another thing.”

So, how long will Brown stick around?

A few more weeks?  A couple of months?

For a coach that fans consider to be peerless and someone appreciated by every level of the organization, it doesn’t sound like Larry Brown is all too excited by the opportunity to return to Charlotte and make several millions of dollars to do what he does best. In order to get a better perspective on his position, let’s look at what he’s done since the end of the regular season.

1. He’s reached out to the Sixers about a front office position.

2. He coached the Bobcats through a 0-4 sweep by the Magic.

3. He refused to commit to leading the team next season.

4. He’s used the “I’m under contract” line to describe his position with the Bobcats.

Is there a limit to how far Michael Jordan will allow this to drag on?

There are only 30 head coaches on the NBA level, and unfortunately Charlotte’s got the guy that doesn’t really want  this job any more.  What do you do with a brilliant coach that will never be satisfied with his situation? Can the team follow a guy that conducts his job like this?


Links:

Brown Still Not Definitive On Future (The Canadian Press)

Larry Brown Mum On Future Plans With Charlotte Bobcats (Charlotte Observer)



POLL : Will Larry Brown Be Back?

  • Yes
    (70%, 28 Votes)
  • No
    (30%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 40

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Charlotte Bobcats NBA Draft Preview: Part 3

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In Part 2, I talked about some strategy that the Bobcats could possibly use in making the 12th pick and made some generalizations about which players may or may not be available at #12.  In Part 3, I’ll go into more detail about the players that are likely to be available to the Bobcats at pick #12.

A quick review: There are eight guys who will definitely be gone: Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, Ricky Rubio, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, Jordan Hill and DeMar DeRozan.

Then there are three guys who will probably be gone: Jrue Holiday, Jonny Flynn and Brandon Jennings.  In this point-guard heavy draft, these guys have been searching for a safety in the mid-to-late lottery.  In Chad Ford’s latest Mock Draft, he has them going in the 8-11 range.  But with the Nets at #11 supposedly in need of a big (and with this draft being described as underwhelming and unpredictable in general) I think there is a small, but not irrelevant, chance that one of these guys could be available to the Bobcats at #12.

Could the Bobcats use a lottery pick on a point guard who didn’t work out for them for a second year in a row?  I suppose anything is possible (especially with Jordan and Brown making the pick) but have to guess that they wouldn’t.  With the Bobcats having been pretty clear that they intend to keep Raymond Felton and DJ Augustin, point guard is a relative strength on our roster.  We have other needs that are more important.

Lets turn our eyes to the players that we’re pretty sure will be available at #12:  Gerald Henderson, Terrence Williams, Earl Clark, Austin Daye, Jeff Teague, DeJuan Blair, Eric Maynor, Tyler Hansbrough, James Johnson, BJ Mullens, Ty Lawson, DaJuan Summers and Sam Young.

To cull the list even more, we’ll strike Young, Summers and Johnson — #12 is just too much of a reach for these guys.  I’ll also strike Teague, Maynor and Lawson because they’re all pure point guards.  Mullens is intriguing, but one 7-foot-plus project on the roster (Ajinca) is enough — off the list.

I’ll strike Hansbrough for a couple of reasons: one, the Bobcats can’t be eager to reinforce the perception that they’re actually the Charlotte Tar Heels; and two, they have to be wary of a white player who was dominant in college, but has questionable athleticism for the NBA (coughAdamMorrisoncough).  James Johnson is out of the discussion; he did work out for the Bobcats, but is an out-of-shape forward tweener who has no buzz going right now.  (Update: as I prepared to post this, just saw Bonnell’s blog post from tonight which informs us that Johnson is coming back for a second look on Wednesday.)

DeJuan Blair is intriguing, as the Bobcats have a need for depth at the power forward position.  However, he’s a relatively unathletic rebounding specialist who relies on a wide frame to grab those rebounds, has played at a heavy weight, and has known knee issues.  Sounds a little too close to Sean May for me.

Austin Daye is an interesting talent; everyone compares him to Tayshaun Prince and the feeling is that he’ll be picked somewhere in the middle of the first round.  But he’s extremely weak and a little raw for the NBA.  In a few years he might make a good hybrid forward, but the Bobcats need help now at other positions — off the list.

Earl Clark is the first guy on the list that I think the Bobcats could potentially pick at #12.  He’s a long, athletic forward who’s similar to, but more ready to contribute than, Austin Daye.  Clark is most often compared to Lamar Odom, as opposed to Tayshaun Prince, to give you an idea of the slight difference between Daye and Clark.  Clark is just the kind of player whom Brown likes, and would only be a minor reach at #12.

Now we get to the two guys who are obviously at the top of the Bobcats draft board: Gerald Henderson and Terrence Williams.  The Bobcats invited these two back for a second look on Monday with Micheal Jordan in the house to observe.  Here’s the breakdown for these two.

Gerald Henderson played three years at shooting guard for Duke.  He goes 6’5″ and 215 pounds.  He increased his scoring average from 6.8 to 12.7 to 16.5 ppg over his three years at Duke.  He is considered a pure shooting guard, with tremendous athleticism and an improving outside stroke.  He plays great defense, and seems ready to contribute right off the bat.  Here’s video of Henderson after the workout, with some comments from Larry Brown towards the end.

Terrence Williams played four years at shooting guard at Louisville.  He goes 6’6″ and 215 pounds.  He averaged 8 points as a freshman, then 12, 11 and 12 his last three years of college.  That stagnation is probably the biggest concern on Williams’ resume (the other is his, ahem, eccentricity).  While he’s clearly a shooting guard, he’s considered more versatile than Henderson.  Williams has better ballhandling ability, is a better passer and can probably play a little small forward in a small lineup.  Similar to Henderson, he’s considered a great defender and will likely be ready to contribute in his first year.  Here’s video of Williams from the workout.

Here’s a great breakdown by DraftExpress.com on the shooting guards in this draft, with a bunch of great info and statistical analysis that helps to differentiate between Henderson and Williams.  Rumor has it that Williams really impressed Larry Brown at the workout, met with team officials afterwards, then pulled out of a Tuesday workout in New Jersey with Henderson, Hansbrough, etc.

So as I wrap this up on Tuesday night, all signs are pointing to Terrence Williams as being the guy as long as the Bobcats don’t trade the pick.  Seems like Williams would be OK with it.  Hell, judging by the interest he had in Jordan’s gear at Monday’s workout, he may even pay Michael to wear Jordans.

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-E

Bobcats Trade Rumor: Felton to Dallas?

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What Felton and May get you these days...

Another month, another weird trade rumor.  This one has some serious legs apparantly as the ‘Cats were all but ready to send Raymond Felton, Sean May and Nazr Mohammed to Dallas in a three team deal that would return Thunder backup PG Earl Watson and Mavs backup C Desagna Diop to Charlotte.  ESPN.com’s Mark Stein reports that the deal is currently “dormant” and that once DJ Augustin returns from his “abdominal strain/sports hernia” the deal may go down.

Some quick thoughts on the potential trade:

1. I really hate to keep bringing this up but if Felton/May get dealt together in this trade, we’re basically saying that instead of trading the two (as the 5th and 13th pick in the 2005 draft) for Portland’s #3 pick that year (your choice of Chris Paul or Deron Williams), we’ll instead hold on to them for four modestly-to-completely unproductive seasons and then unload them to Dallas for DeSagna-freakin’-Diop.  You gotta love being a Bobcats fan.

2. That said…this deal could turn out to be somewhat positive for the Bobcats.  If DJ is your man at the point for the future, then you could do a lot worse than Earl Watson.  The 29 year old has pretty much equaled Raymond’s PER over 7 years in the League and is more accustomed to playing in a backup capacity.  At $6.2mil and $6.4mil over this season and next, he’s paid about $2mil more this year than Raymond but he’ll come off of the books completely before the summer of 2010.  Yeah, Earl won’t provide the “heart” that Ray Felton has brought over the last four seasons in Charlotte but he won’t provide any of the “I’m going to drive to the hole at the end of the game indescriminately and throw up a shot and see what happens” as well.  We all like Raymond but his leaving the team won’t be as big of a hole as some might think.

3. DeSagana Diop coming to the ‘Cats is both a plus and a minus.  On the plus side, he provides a very good defensive presence in the lane as a backup C or together with Emeka when the team plays against the likes of the Cavs, etc.  Yeah, his offense sucks, but I’ll take 82 games of Diop playing defense and altering shots over Nazr laboring and incessantly fouling any day.  On the minus side, Diop’s contract is for roughly the same amount per year as Nazr’s but with 2 MORE additional seasons.  Not sure if I want to be paying my one-dimensional backup Center $7mil per in 2012 but hell, the world’s going to end in 2012 anyway so may as well go out in style.  Plus, Diop’s only 26 so we’ll only be paying him until he’s 30.

4. Sean May gets to eat all the Tex-Mex his heart desires.  And he can try out East Texas Burger.  As J.T. from “Planet Terror” would say, “Best in Texas, heh-heh.”

5. The minute that the JRICH/Diaw-Bell trade went down everybody from the local Charlotte online forums all the way up to the major sports networks trashed MJ and Coach Brown.  But guess what, since the trade the ‘Cats have played .500 ball, have looked more balanced, hungry and overall more like a pro-team.  So I’m giving LB the benefit of the doubt on this one.  He clearly sees that DJ is PG to run the show when the game is on the line and that getting another 7′ foot/280lb shot-blocker in the process is going to make the team that much more defensively capable.

Take a look at Boris Diaw’s post trade numbers btw.  Bell‘s too.  Now compare that to JRICH.

The Suns are getting around 17pts, 4 boards, and 2.5 assists per.  The ‘Cats get back a combined 25pts, 7.5 assists and 10 boards.  Not too shabby.

6. DIRECTION:  With all of this, we’re still looking at the ‘Cats building around Okafor, Augustin, Diaw, and (if he doesn’t get traded) G-Force.  They’ll have a decent bench with pro-depth and around $20mil to spend come 2010 if they can recruit someone to come play in Charlotte.  Hardly “State of Suck” worthy in my estimation.

-ASChin

STATE OF THE ROSTER: Post JRICH Trade 12/10/08

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Phoenix Suns

Well…

There are a couple of ways of looking at this trade.  Let’s start with the negative…

1. The Bobcats trade their most recognizable and most offensively explosive player to the Phoenix Suns for two rotation players.  They didn’t get Steve Nash, nor Amare Stoudamire, nor Barbosa, nor Shaq, nor did they receive any draft picks or significant cap space.  They got a sometimes productive starting power forward in Boris Diaw and an aging defensive ace SG in Raja Bell.  And to top it all off, they have to send the Suns a 2nd round draft pick and include everyone’s favorite “Hustle Stats” hero in Jared Dudley.  Diaw has battled conditioning problems over the past few seasons and has regressed mightily since his Most Improved Player award in ’05.  The good news is is that Sean May now has an “Eatin’ Buddy” and (being French) Diaw can now instruct young, emaciated PF Alexis Ajinca in the fine art of American Obesity.  “First you must layer ze mayonaise gently on ze baguette.  Zen you add ze lump crab meat.  Voila!  Zat is what makes le magnifique Crab Bread!”

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JRICH GONE, WALLACE NEXT?

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David Aldridge on Suns/Bobcats Trade

In his analysis of the Jason Richardson trade, NBA.com’s David Aldridge writes:

“The Bobcats are playing much better this season under Brown, in his first year with his latest team. But Brown, as ever, has been unhappy with his team’s defense and is looking to add a true center up front so current center Emeka Okafor can move to power forward.

Charlotte, a source said, will be addressing that in the next few days, using forward Gerald Wallace as bait in order to secure a starting center.”

Read the story here.

-ASChin

Okafor Leaving Charlotte?

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Emeka Okafor

With Elton Brand’s departure from Los Angeles, the market for a free agent Power Forward has just skyrocketed. Considering the money available to the Clippers, it appears that at least one player will receive larger contract than they anticipated this off-season. While Emeka Okafor was a priority to for the Bobcats, his price tag may rise considerably with an offer from the Clippers.

If a huge contract is prepared for Okafor by Los Angeles, would Charlotte be able to match it? Would it be wise to do so? If they don’t, what are the alternatives?

At the moment, Charlotte is struggling to find the right Power Forward to compliment Emeka. If he leaves town, that formula is obsolete. The ‘Cats will then need to find a starting Center and Power Forward. It’s going to be hard to find that kind of talent before training camp. Okafor’s departure would likely result in a full reconstruction of the team’s roster. This might be a bit more than Larry Brown had hoped to instigate.

In the case that the Bobcats do match a hefty contract that the Clippers are likely to offer, they risk entering quite a commitment to Okafor after such a disappointing season. He was the face of the franchise during the expansion season, but a lot of faces have left since then. There’s really not a lot of nostalgia around the ‘Cats organization these days. Does he stay or does he go?

Last Minute News, Rumors, Tidbits and Thoughts…

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Only about an hour away now. I’ve read so much Chad Ford in the past week that I think I deserve an honorary degree in International Conflict Resolution from BYU-Hawaii.

Here’s the way things are shaping up for the Bobcats:

  • Bonnell reported today that the Bobcats were (desperately???) working to line up a trade with Memphis to get their #5 pick. Presumably this would be to ensure that we can get Russell Westbrook, who may not be there at #9.
  • Would a package of #9 and #20 be enough to get this done? Both Bonnell and Chad Ford seemed to think not today. Bonnell specifically mentioned that Gerald Wallace was available as well, but Wallace + #9 is way too much to give up, and Wallace + #20 doesn’t seem like enough. And should we be giving up anything to move up, when Westbrook may be there at #9 anyways? Could Kevin Love actually be the target at #5?
  • I read somewhere today that there are some in the Bobcats front office who are high on DJ Augustin, and are pushing him for the #9 pick. Please God, no. Hopefully that one’s all smoke screen.
  • If we don’t make a trade to move up to #5, then two trades that happened today affect who will be left at #9. The Clippers and Supersonics have agreed to swap their #4 and #7 picks, with the Clips sending their 2009 pick along in the deal (with some protections). The Clips would pick Eric Gordon (good for us, we’re not interested). Then the Sonics would likely take Brook Lopez (also good for us). In another trade however, the Bucks picked up Richard Jefferson for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. This puts some doubt into the thoughts that Joe Alexander will be the pick for the Bucks (as Jefferson and Alexander are both SFs), and makes it more likely that the Bucks will be after a guard: Jerryd Bayless (OK, fine) or Russell Westbrook (Nooooooooooo!).
  • So here’s my last minute amended prediction about what the Bobcats’ draft board looks like this right now for the #9 pick: 1) Russell Westbrook, 2) Kevin Love, 3) Anthony Randolph or Brook Lopez.

We’ll know in a little over an hour…

-E