Calderon/Evans for Diaw/Chandler Still Not Official (UPDATED)

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The three team trade that will reportedly involve the Bobcats sending Boris Diaw and Tyson Chandler to Toronto and receiving Jose Calderon and Reggie Evans is still not official as of Monday evening.  Bonnell is reporting that it won’t happen tonight, and cites the complexities of a three-team deal in regards to satisfying salary cap issues for the delay.  In a subsequent blog entry, Bonnell reports that the Raptors are causing the holdup and that there is still a chance the deal could break down.

The Phoenix Suns are also supposedly involved — sending Leandro Barbosa to the Raptors for Hedo Turkoglu.  Earlier versions of the story also had the Suns sending Dwayne Jones to Charlotte, which accounts for the “three team” and not “two separate trades involving the Raptors” characterization of the deal.

Here at the Baseline, we’ve been anticipating a trade of either Diaw or Chandler for a point guard, but I have to say, I’m surprised it took both of them to get back someone the caliber of Calderon.  Granted, the contracts have to match up (and Calderon has a big one — 3 years left at an average of $10 million per year) but I would have rather seen a smaller deal that sent Diaw away for a cheaper PG like Jarrett Jack, Ramon Sessions or even TJ Ford.

Getting Chandler helps the Raptors improve defensively and maintain an air of respectability this year while still being bad enough to miss the playoffs and get a lottery pick, then getting the cap space when Chandler’s deal expires to help their rebuilding project.  Frankly I would have rather kept Chandler to anchor the middle this year and used the cap space his expiring deal would provide next summer ourselves, but the Cats have essentially waived the white flag when it comes to being free agent players.

ASChin has already pontificated on Calderon in an earlier post; my take is fairly similar.  Calderon had a career year in 2007-08 while splitting time with TJ Ford at the point.  Calderon led the league in assist-to-turnover ratio while shooting over 50% from the field, 40% from 3PT, and 90% from FT.  As a result, the Raps traded TJ Ford away after the season and signed Calderon to the current fat deal he’s on.

However, Calderon (and the Raptors, for that matter) has struggled to meet expectations since.  He’s been hampered by injuries that have limited him to 68 games in each of the last two seasons.  Never a gifted defender to begin with, hamstring problems have rendered the Spaniard into a matador when it comes to defending quick opposing guards.  Toronto’s lack of interior defense didn’t help matters any.

Still, at his best, Calderon is a sharpshooting, efficient point guard with good size who excels at taking care of the ball and his teammates.  He’s not much of a playmaker, but under Larry Brown, the system will make the plays, not the point guard.  With Tyrus Thomas and Gerald Wallace on the court to provide help defense in the paint, his on-ball defensive deficiencies will hopefully be mitigated.

(UPDATED 11:55 PM ET)  Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is now reporting that:

Charlotte owner Michael Jordan has had “second thoughts” on trade with Toronto and deal is suddenly in peril, league sources tell Y! Sports.

You mean I just wrote three paragraphs breaking down Jose Calderon’s career/game for nothing?!?!

-Dr. E

Diaw Shipped to Toronto for Cap Space

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We can finally put all that talk of Boris Diaw playing the point behind us.  The versatile forward will be shipped to Toronto to play for his former Suns boss Bryan Colangelo.

The Arizona Republic reports that Diaw will be heading to the Raptors in exchange for part of the Chris Bosh trade exception and journeyman (as well as former Bobcat) Dwayne Jones.  Jones would be first acquired by Toronto from Phoenix in a prior trade that would send Hedo Turkoglu to the Suns in exchange for Leandrinho Barbosa.

The trade as reported would save the Bobcats $9 million dollars in cap space this season and next while putting the team in prime position to trade for a starting point guard and fill out their roster without venturing into the luxury tax this summer.

ANALYSIS: After re-signing PF Tyrus Thomas to a 5 year $40 million contract last week, the Diaw move comes as no surprise.  Only a team with cash reserves like the Lakers spends $8 million a year on their backup power forward.  Expect Tyrus to start immediately.  Depending on how Tyrus’s contract is structured, the Bobcats are between $8 and $10 million below the League’s luxury tax threshold for next season of $70 million.  Trading Diaw will not only give the team the ability to find a quality starting point guard via trade this season but also allows the team to potentially pursue a max-type free agent next summer as they currently sit about $20 million under next year’s cap.

-ASChin

twitter: @bobcatsbaseline

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Celtics 11/29/08

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1. Bobcats lose to the visiting Celtics on Saturday night, 89-84.  AP story here, box score here, PopcornMachine.net game flow here.  This was the eighth straight win for the Celtics, who move to 16-2 overall, while the Bobcats fall to 5-11.

2. Big crowd tonight on a holiday weekend to see the Cats host the World Champion Celtics.  The crowd was announced as a sellout (19,177) but I would estimate the place was about 85% full.  Michael Jordan was back in the house in his customary seat at the end of the bench; Bob Johnson was at midcourt; and NASCAR dude Jimmie Johnson was a few seats down from him.  I would estimate that between a quarter and a third of the crowd were green-clad Celtics fans.  We were treated to a close, defensively-minded and well-played game in which the Bobcats ultimately succumbed to the champs.

3. The Bobcats again started Felton, Richardson, Wallace, May and Okafor and let that group play together for 8 or 9 minutes.  That lineup played very well and grabbed a 12-4 lead after a few minutes; the first quarter ended with the Cats up 22-17.  Sean May continues to take baby steps back towards being a functional NBA player, grabbing 4 rebounds and hitting 3-5 FGs in 18 minutes.  The 15-20 foot jumper and the rebounding instincts are still there, but right now the game is moving a bit fast for him.

4. Ditto “the game moving too fast right now” for Alexis Ajinca.  Lex logged a few minutes in the second quarter, but looked pretty out of place against the Celtics mix of experienced veterans and veteran-like young guys (granted, there’s no one on the Celtics that’s a good matchup for him, and he got stuck on Big Baby Davis for those few minutes).  I’ll continue to beat the drum that Freedom Fries needs regular minutes – in the D-League – to acclimate himself to American basketball.

Hopefully, we now have another functional big in Dwayne Jones such that the team can spare Lex and let him get those D-League minutes.  Jones played 13 minutes, and didn’t log any meaningful statistics, but looked mostly competent.  He definitely led the team in “mini-conferences with teammates during breaks in the action so that he understood his responsibilities” in the upcoming possesions.

5. Jason Richardson and Gerald Wallace led the team with 22 and 23 points, respectively.  Both were able to get their points within the offense, and within their comfort zones.  Richardson again showed no ill effects from his recent knee troubles.

6. However, the discipled Celtics defense was able to prevent both Richardson and Wallace from getting much going in the crucial last three minutes.  Take a look at the 4th quarter play-by-play and you’ll note that both guys contributed in the beginning and middle of the final period; but with most of the crowd standing (seriously!) and hanging on every play in the last few minutes, the Cs stayed at home on D, prevented Richardson and Wallace from touching the ball, and dared Raymond Felton to beat them.

7. And after a fantastic game on Friday night against the Pacers in which he hit from everywhere (including a tough, driving layup to send the game into OT) Raymond had a dismal follow-up game.  He was 2-15 from the floor with 6 turnovers.  He continues to find other ways to contribute, with 7 rebounds and 6 assists, but it was the four (yes, four) missed layups down the stretch (two were blocked) that killed the Bobcats chances of pulling this one out.  Clearly, the Celtics had committed to staying at home on defense and taking their chances with Felton, and it was the right decision.  Raymond has a knack for overpenetrating, giving himself an exceedingly difficult shot, and rarely drawing a foul in the process.  Perhaps it should be DJ doing the majority of the ballhandling in crunch time?  (It was again a lineup of Augustin, Felton, Richardson, Wallace and Okafor in the fourth quarter.)

8. To contrast, when the game was on the line, the Celtics were able to go to Paul Pierce.  The Truth got them eight points (on two short jumpers and four free throws) in the last four minutes to put the Bobcats away.  It’s worth noting exactly how Paul Pierce was able to do this: the Celtics exploited the Bobcats small lineup by getting Pierce isolated on the much smaller Augustin through screens and switches several times.  Hopefully this doesn’t become a recurring theme for the Bobcats’ fourth quarters.

9. The Bobcats did a nice job on Kevin Garnett, who went for a pretty quiet 10 points (4-12 FG) and 7 rebounds.  Everyone took a turn on Garnett, including May, Okafor, Mohammed, and Wallace, and he never got going.  But Kendrick Perkins was able to pick up the slack, with 15 points (7-14 FG) and 12 rebounds to effectively negate Garnett’s quiet game.

10. Next game: Monday night, hosting the T-Wolves at the Cable Box, 7:00 PM ET.  With the starting five intact, and the team showing signs of rounding into shape, we should be expecting wins in these next two home games (T-Wolves and Thunder).

-E