What To Do with Dampier? – Part 1 (Addendum)

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Jose Calderon - Tres Points, Bee-octch!

Before I get to my second Dampier Solution, I want to throw one more possible option into the “Waive Him” category.  Last week we heard from NBA.com’s David Aldridge that the Bobcats were trying to get involved in the Houston/NO/NJ/INDY four team trade.  The ‘Cats wanted to squeeze yet another team into the mix (the Raptors) in order to send Dampier’s expiring contract to the Pacers for the Rap’s Jose Calderon.  Aldridge is and has been a top notch NBA beat guy for decades so I’ll take him at his word: The Bobcats are still interested in acquiring Calderon.

Here’s the thing that I don’t get: Jose is at best an overpaid part-time starter for the Lottery bound Raptors.  At worst he’s a salary cap albatross who’s paid like a top 10 point guard and will probably start the season on the bench behind the average Jarrett Jack.  So why are the Bobcats trying to trade a real deal asset (Dampier’s immediately expiring contract) for him?

The answer, of course, could be that the front office is clueless (and there are many signs that undeniably point that way) or perhaps this is just a smokescreen leaked by Toronto management in order to try to raise Calderon’s value throughout the League.

A Better Deal for Calderon

If in fact the Bobcats are interested in Calderon then why not offer up a more palatable combination of Gana Diop and D.J. Augustin?  Diop’s contract matches Calderon’s in length with Jose due around $6 million more over the next three seasons.

Sure, Gana hasn’t done a damn thing to prove he’s worth the League minimum (much less a full midlevel) contract over the past year but he’d be the biggest body on the Raps thin roster and he’s still young enough (28) to contribute.  Meanwhile, D.J. would add another shooter and speedster to Toronto’s open court game.  He’s also an expiring contract or a cheap trade chip if the Raps don’t want him back after next season.  On the surface, Diop’s deal would be hard to swallow but I’m not sure if Toronto will see a better offer for Jose and his 3 years, $30 million than this one.

For the Bobcats, the trade would be a solid double.  Calderon has his flaws and is flagrantly overpaid but a combination of Jose and Livingston at point guard could work.  Both players have size (Jose is listed a 6’3″) and Calderon’s shooting will come in very handy when Shaun struggles with his perimeter shot.

Diop’s absence (combined with the eventual waiving of Dampier and loss of Tyson Chandler) heightens the team’s need for depth at center.  With Shaq signing on with the Celtics for a little over the League veteran’s minimum, I can’t see a 36 year old Erik Dampier walking away from a two year $6 million dollar offer from Higgins & Co.

Ironically, taking on Jose’s $30 million would help the Bobcats with their financial situation.  By unloading a bad deal for a bad deal, the ‘Cats could solve their point guard depth while staying safely under the League’s tax number.  The team would still have another two million dollars or so to pickup a street free agent or veteran via trade for depth (see Ratliff, Theo) this year and be around $9 million under next season’s tax line.

But if I’m Rod Higgins and MJ, I don’t stop there.  It’s time for a double down.

Double Down Trade

In what would be perhaps the League’s biggest two player trade (on a pound for pound basis), the Bobcats could then ship Boris Diaw (recently spotted doing a Biggie Smalls impression at the World’s) coupled with Eduardo Najera to the Knicks for “Disorderlies” body double Eddie Curry.  From a talent perspective, this is a coup for the Knicks.  Sure, they’d have to sacrifice $11 million in cap space for next season (even with Diaw and Najera on the roster, they’d only have $33m committed) but D’Antoni would reunite with one of his favorite players from his Phoenix days and Boris, when in shape, is one of the most uniquely skilled players in the League.  The reason the Bobcats make this trade is to clean up their books for next season.  Curry’s $11 million deal expires  next summer and the ‘Cats would go into the 2011-2012 season (if there is one) $11 million under the cap and nearly $20 million under the tax line.

Bobcats Baseline - Salaries (Post Curry/Calderon Moves)

In the event that Eddie Curry gives a crap about continuing his NBA career, I can’t think of a better place for him than Charlotte.  Teaming with Mohammed and Dampier, Larry Brown will utilize Curry’s low post scoring in ways that D’Antoni’s system can’t.  Pairing Curry with an athletic power forward who operates from the perimeter like Tyrus Thomas or Derrick Brown would also help.

Bobcats Baseline State of the Roster - Calderon/Curry - Addendum

In Conclusion

Ultimately, this roster isn’t going to win the Conference Finals.  They could however push the team a few games up in the standings and make a run at the Second Round while giving the organization some breathing room to make some moves and build the team while remaining competitive for the next three to four seasons.

Until next time, Enjoy the Offseason Bobcats Fans…

-ASChin

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

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kevin-garnett-jose-calderon2

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 Trade Redux

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Wouldn’t you know it, my ISP was down for three hours just as the plot thickens.

The Observer’s Rick Bonnell, the Toronto Star’s Doug Smith and Slam online are all reporting that the previously confirmed Diaw trade will now include Jose Calderon moving to Charlotte.  There is also speculation that Tyson Chandler and his expiring $12.75 million dollar contract may be moved to Toronto as well.

UPDATE 3:11pm – Radio Reports (as well as the Sun) coming out of Toronto have backup power forward Reggie Evans and his $5 million expiring contract joining Calderon in route to Charlotte.  Coupled with Chandler’s departure, move would put the ‘Cats around $10 million below the luxury tax line for this season and approximately $8 million below the League’s salary cap for 2011-2012.

ANALYSIS (CALDERON): While I’m surprised that Larry Brown would approve of such a trade, the Bobcats will be bringing in a 28 year old (soon to be 29 year old) Spanish point guard who is not exactly known for his defensive capabilities.  Did I mention that this near 30 year old point guard is due an additional 3 years $30 million dollars on his current contract?
All that said, I actually like the move.  At 6-3, 210 Calderon has the size that the Bobcats have lacked at the position for years.  Jose has also ranked in the League’s top 5 in Pure Point Ratio – he has an extremely low turnover ratio (less than one turnover for every 15 minutes played for his career) and shoots at an exceptional percentage from both the floor and the charity stripe.

At first glance, Calderon is kind of an Anti-Felton.  Poor defender, great court vision, and a steady shooter who doesn’t turn the ball over.  It will be interesting to see what sort of success Jose has under Larry Brown, especially since he’ll be coming into the system this late into his career.  Still, Calderon’s strengths should make up for many of his short-comings – Bobcats fans will certainly see less unforced turnovers from the position next season – and his defensive liabilities will be masked somewhat by his teammates excellence at that end of the court.  Toronto didn’t exactly have any All-Defense candidates like Gerald Wallace, Stephen Jackson or Tyrus Thomas playing alongside Calderon during the past few seasons.

Post will be updated as more information is made available.

-ASChin

Twitter: @bobcatsbaseline