Six Trade Deadline Deals for the Charlotte Bobcats

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Let’s hope Rich Cho and Rod Higgins have an unlimited minutes plan. With up to $19 million in expiring contracts, multiple 1st Round draft picks and a roster devoid of Playoff talent, it’s a near certainty the front office duo are working the phones to acquire talent before the February 21st deadline. Let’s have a look at some of the options available as we approach the frenzy:

Expirings about to Expire

In particular, you can all but guarantee Charlotte will attempt to move the expiring contracts of upcoming free agents Gana Diop ($7.3m), Hakim Warrick (team option, $4m) and Reggie Williams ($2.6m). The Queen City’s never been a major free agent destination so acquiring a quality player already under contract with this space is imperative. While fishing out a highly paid psuedo-star like Rudy Gay is an option, the team could also use the expiring contracts in the form of a salary dump to bring in a prospect or pick, for example:

TRADE PROPOSAL #1 CLT trades Gana Diop, Hakim Warrick to SAC for John Salmons, Thomas Robinson.

Nothing says “fresh start” like the dumping of a truly terrible contract. As much fun as it would be for a guy named “Salmons” to play in Seattle, he’s extremely overpaid for his production. With John off the books, the soon-to-be-Sonics could both re-sign Tyreke Evans and dip their toes into a decent Free Agency pool. The price for taking on Salmons’ additional two years would be Robinson, who has the potential to be a league-leading rebounder and a decent post player.

TRADE PROPOSAL #2 CLT trades Diop, Reggie Williams to DAL for Shawn Marion, Jae Crowder, 2nd Round Pick.

Mark Cuban is going all in this summer and the only thing standing in his way is the final year of Marion’s contract. By dumping it, Cuban will have nearly $25 million to blow in free agency BEFORE utilizing all the Mavs’ cap exceptions. Meanwhile, Charlotte rents a fading yet useful combo forward for 18 months. If Shawn pouts, the Cats can buy him out midway next season but if not, they’ll have a highly useful rebounder/jump shooter in their rotation. The real bounty in the trade is Crowder, a high-energy, rebounding machine on a pint-sized contract for two more seasons. Dallas’ 2nd Rounder would replace the one Charlotte traded to OKC for Byron Mullens.

Big Names, Big Deals, Big Risks

If Cho and Higgins were to roll the dice to bring in a youngish, All-Star-ish, type of player there are a few options out on the trading block:

TRADE PROPOSAL #3 CLT trades Tyrus Thomas, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Diop to MEM for Rudy Gay, Darrell Arthur.

As controversial as it sounds, this deal could ultimately help both teams. Memphis dumps Gay’s massive contract and adds another wing stopper in Kidd-Gilchrist, freeing the team to pair Mike Conley with another scorer instead of re-signing free agent-to-be Tony Allen. The price, of course, is taking on the last two years of Thomas’ laughable deal. Though overpaid, Gay gives Charlotte exactly what they need as a dynamic offensive SF while Arthur provides a steady two-way presence at the other forward spot. Also, trading Tyrus alleviates the need for using the amnesty clause on him – a move that could save Michael Jordan up to $18 million over the next two years. Before you scoff at the idea of a penny-pinching owner, keep in mind that the cash could be spent on the next coach hire (Stan Van Gundy, anyone?), the Hornets rebrand, front office help and a quality bench player or two. Next season’s Kemba/McLemore/Gay/Arthur/Biyombo lineup and deep bench could certainly compete for a Playoff spot.

TRADE PROPOSAL #4 CLT trades Diop, Williams, 1st Rnd Pick (via PDX) to TOR for Andrea Bargnani.

A straight salary dump for the Raps with a mid-round pick thrown in for their troubles, Toronto officially moves on from the disappointing Bargnani era, allowing the assurgant Ed Davis to claim the starting spot for good. Charlotte gets a sweet-shooting big man who actually makes good on his stroke – Bargnani takes Byron Mullens’ re-signing out of the equation come July and provides the Cats with a niche outside-in complement to Biyombo and MKG in the frontcourt. Also, did I mention that Bargnani makes Mullens redundant?

TRADE PROPOSAL #5 CLT trades Gerald Henderson, Williams, 1st Rnd Pick (DET) to SAC for Tyreke Evans.

If the soon-to-be-Sonics are convinced that they can’t or don’t want to sign Evans to a $10 million plus per year deal in July, they can make a trade like this one. Henderson gives them a less expensive backup plan for a starting two guard and the pick from Detroit adds to the new management’s stash of assets. The Cats roll the dice here by adding Evans and his upcoming near-max deal but the payoff could be huge. Evans is only 23, taller and bigger than Henderson and a very good ball handler AKA a near perfect long-term complement to Kemba Walker. Tyreke is a consistent jumpshot away from an All-Star game. This is exactly the sort of player the Cats should be targeting.

TRADE PROPOSAL #6 CLT trades Diop, Warrick, Williams, Two 1st Rnd Picks (via DET/PDX) to ATL for Josh Smith.

By far the most prepostorous of the scenarios, Charlotte would “win” the right to pay Smith $18 million or so per year over the next four seasons. Atlanta seems less than thrilled with that very idea so have been shopping Smith over the past few months. While the concept of trading Smith within their own division (much less the same Conference) might seem abhorant, acquiring two mid-round draft choices and $14 million in cap space may alleviate the sting. Smith would immediately become the Cats’ most dynamic scorer and a fine match with MKG – but factoring in Smith’s contract demands, maturity issues and Atlanta’s division-rival status, it’s a definite longshot.
-ASChin

Stephen Jackson Wins Game On Buzzer Beater, Downs Hawks 88-86

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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Box Score | Recap

At the time of writing this recap, it’s been over an hour since end of the Bobcats-Hawks game, and I still can’t believe what I saw.

Stephen Jackson, while double-teamed and with the clock winding down, faded away and caught nothing but net on a shot that won the game at the buzzer.

But that wasn’t the only thing that absolutely boggles my mind. Try these on for size: the Bobcats came back from a 22 point deficit; the Bobcats had a reserve score 22 points; AND Stephen Jackson scored efficiently.

And all on the tail end of a back-to-back.

The end result was a Bobcats win over the Hawks, 88 to 86.

But the whole game was an extremely difficult fight. Even in the first quarter, the Bobcats found themselves down by ten points early. Luckily they recovered, with the help of Livingston, who had eight points in the first quarter. They went into the second quarter tied at 27.

The second quarter for the Bobcats was a disaster of epic proportions. Charlotte was down by 22 points and allowed an 18-0 run by the Hawks at times during the quarter. It wasn’t until 2:26 left in the quarter until a Bobcat made a field goal. And by that time, it seemed like the only thing separating the Bobcats from their 32nd loss was about 24 minutes of game time. The starters, outside of Gerald Wallace and Jackson, were completely awful. And Livingston was pretty much the only redeemable thing about the game, scoring 12 points by halftime. Meanwhile, Atlanta was hitting their shots from all over. In the first quarter they attacked the paint, but in the second, they hit shots from all over the court.

(CLICHÉ ALERT)

But there’s a reason they play 48 minutes, right?

(CLICHÉ ALERT OVER)

In the third quarter, you could see the Bobcats beginning to right the ship. An ineffective, poorly-shooting Augustin was replaced with Shaun Livingston, who played out of his mind. The defense tightened up, allowing only three Hawks attempts in the paint. Gerald Wallace even did un-Gerald Wallace-y things, like hitting three treys. Livingston picked up where he left off, dropping 6 points and two dishes. And Stephen Jackson came to life, playing more efficiently on offense, even drawing a few fouls. The game came into reach as the quarter ended, Hawks up 72-68.

As the final period of play began, one could feel the Bobcats taking complete control. They were getting shots that they wanted and more importantly, the Hawks weren’t able to attack Charlotte’s main weakness: defense in the post. Even D.J. and Gerald Henderson added some points, despite their rough nights. More importantly, Jackson was rolling. Whenever Stephen Jackson can get to the free throw line, it’s going to be a good night for him. And boy, was it for him tonight. Despite the Bobcats’ desire to pull away, the Hawks wouldn’t let that happen. While their offense wasn’t getting much of anything, their defense helped force the Bobcats into bad shots, making the game struggle at times when both teams took time off from scoring. But after a pair of Jackson free throws to tie up the game, the Bobcats stifled the Hawks on their next possession and Stack Jack a long, tough mid-range jumper to put Charlotte up by two. But Atlanta struck back with an Al Horford score and getting possession after Livingston missed a jump shot.

And then it was crunch time. Tie game at 86. Atlanta squeezed as much time from the clock but couldn’t also get a good shot, with Joe Johnson bricking a 21-foot shot. Bobcats ball with a little over five seconds left. Coach Paul Silas called for a time out, which moved the ball up court. Eduardo Najera inbounded the ball to Jackson from the sideline. And he just stood there. No one else even moved. Then Jackson took a single dribble back, towards Najera’s defender! Then, with about .8 seconds left, he jumped and faded away from the two defenders, hitting the bottom of the net and winning the game.

I was dumb-founded. I’m still dumb-founded. The Bobcats have never been really effective using isolation plays. And over a double team? I could have sworn we were headed to overtime. And it’s not just that. Shaun Livingston had 22 points! The Bobcats haven’t had a reserve score that many points since November! I’m just in awe over all of this.

Odds and Ends

  • When is D.J. Augustin going to find his shot? We need his offense quite badly.
  • Boris Diaw was pretty bad tonight too, just so it doesn’t go unsaid.
  • Gerald Wallace was really good. I didn’t want anyone to think I missed that.
  • Good defense by Jackson and Henderson on Joe Johnson (4-14 FG, 11 PTS) and Jamal Crawford (1-9 FG, 2 PTS).
  • I hate you, Mike Bibby. Eduardo Najera, I don’t like you much either, but you’re better than Bibby, I guess.
  • The Bobcats are now 23-31 and face the Lakers on Monday, in Charlotte. Watch out for the bandwagon fans if you go.
  • Josh Smith destroyed Eduardo Najera with a single dunk.

Stats Leaders:

Bobcats

Stephen Jackson: 12-24 FG, 7-8 FT, 32 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO

Shaun Livingston: 8-13 FG, 6-6 FT, 22 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST, 1 BLK, 2 TO

Gerald Wallace: 6-15 FG, 4-6 3P, 16 PTS, 13 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 2 TO

Hawks

Josh Smith: 11-17 FG, 4-7 FT, 28 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL

Al Horford:  8-15 FG, 16 PTS, 10 REBS, 3 AST

Play of the Night

Well, I guess they can’t always be Shaun Livingston plays, haha.

Stephen Jackson’s game-winning shot

- Cardboard Gerald

You can follow Cardboard Gerald, Dr. E, and ASChin on Twitter at @CardboardGerald@BaselineDrE, and @BobcatsBaseline. You can find more of Cardboard Gerald’s writing at Bobcats Break and now at Stacheketball.

Bobcats Disappoint, Lose to Vengeful Hawks

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Just a rough night. Sigh... (AP Photo)

Recap | Box Score

The Bobcats put up another letdown of a game on Saturday night, losing to the Atlanta Hawks (who were without starters Al Horford and Marvin Williams) 103-87. This came as a very disappointing loss, considering the Hawks had just incurred a 41-point loss the previous night. I expected a much hungrier team to come into the Cable Box, but I thought the Bobcats could gut out a win against the team without their starting center and small forward. I was wrong. The game was back-and-forth for much of the first half, with the Bobcats leading by five going into the break. Then the Bobcats once again encountered their immortal enemy, the third quarter. While the Bobcats scored around the same points as the previous quarters, their defense was thoroughly torn apart as the Hawks ran away to the 16-point win.

On the night, the Bobcats were led by D.J. Augustin who dropped 20 points and 7 dimes with zero turnovers. Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace both put up clunkers, combining for 5-23 shooting from the field, though Gerald Wallace was better because he rebounded and helped keep his man below his scoring average. Defensively, Jackson was destroyed by Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw had problems with über-athletic Josh Smith.

In the first half, the Bobcats were playing very well, shooting the ball at a decent clip (50% FG, 40% 3P) and they out-rebounded Atlanta by a small margin. With a five-point lead and only three turnovers at the half, Charlotte was playing as good basketball as they could with Gerald Wallace struggling and Stephen Jackson ending the half poorly after a nice first quarter. The bench also played well, centering around Shaun Livingston and Nazr Mohammed who combined for 9 points in the second quarter.

From there it went to Hell in a handbasket. The Bobcats got progressively worse in the third, shooting 37% from the field, getting fewer assists and rebounds, and more turnovers than the first two quarters. Stephen Jackson missed all six of his shots and Gerald Wallace was basically just a non-factor. And that was just offensively. On defense, the Hawks got pretty much whatever they wanted, scoring 32 points on 58% from the field and 57% from behind the arc, while grabbing 5 more rebounds, two more assists and without turning the ball over once. Though Augustin was great on offense in the third was rightfully left in for all of the quarter, he had trouble defending MIKE BIBBY, who scored 14 points on the night.

From there it was basically over. The team had no momentum, Jackson was shooting the team in the foot both with his offense and his inability to slow down Joe Johnson (though you have to give J.J. credit – he was basically unconscious the whole game), and the Bobcats just didn’t have the firepower to make a comeback attempt.

Tids & Bits

  • Dammit, give it up for Shaun Livingston. I watched him check into the game to neither deafening cheers nor applause (or anything close to that). The man deserves better. I love having him on the Bobcats and I would rather he never leave. He’s a good influence in the locker room and has great athletic gifts on the court. But if he’s not going to get the respect he deserves, I think I’d rather he leave and go somewhere else. He was exceptional tonight, shooting 4-6 from the field with three rebounds (one offensive), four assists and two steals for 9 points. Plus he had a couple highlights, including some smooth post moves and this put-back dunk.
  • As far as other guys who performed pretty well on the night, there was Gerald Henderson (4-7 FG, 2 REB, 1 AST, 8 PTS), Nazr Mohammed (5-9 FG, 7 REB, 1 AST, 2 BLK, 1o PTS) and Boris Diaw (5-7 FG, 2-2 FT, 7 REB, 4 AST, 2STL, 1 BLK, 12 PTS). Those are excellent, efficient stat lines right there. Kwame Brown wasn’t bad either, but I expect him to rebound better against the Hawks’ backup center, Zaza Pachulia.
  • Since Paul Silas arrived as the interim head coach, I’ve been waffling on whether I think the Bobcats should blow the team up or not. There have been nights when they just look fantastic but then there are nights when they just look like the doo-doo I just stepped in on my front lawn. I think I’m coming closer to my decision. In my mind, the Bobcats should definitely try to trade Stephen Jackson at all costs. He’s incredibly inefficient on offense, which kills the team since he consistently take about 15 shots per game. As for who to keep, I have three different categories: must keeps – Augustin, Tyrus Thomas, Henderson; should keeps – Derrick Brown, Livingston; and like-to-keeps (those who I’d prefer to keep, but ultimately would understand if we traded them, permitting we get value in return) – Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw. It’s a youth movement folks; don’t trade for cap space. Trade for young talent or draft picks, not just expiring contracts. Cap space doesn’t win championships for a small market team, end of story.
  • Next on the schedule is Tuesday’s game at the Sacramento Kings at 10:00 p.m. EST, as the Bobcats begin a six-game road trip (Kings, Suns, Warriors, Clippers, Jazz, Pistons).

(all stats via the ESPN box score and the awesome website, Popcorn Machine)

- Cardboard Gerald

You can follow Cardboard Gerald, Dr. E, and ASChin on Twitter at @CardboardGerald@BaselineDrE, and @BobcatsBaseline. You can find more of Cardboard Gerald’s writing at Bobcats Break and now at Stacheketball.

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Hawks 3/6/09

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1.  The Bobcats make it 5 in a row tonight by defeating the Hawks at the Cable Box, 98-91.  AP story here, box score here.  The Cats move to 18-15 at home, 27-35 overall, and are just 1.5 games out of the 8th playoff spot.

2.  This was another well-rounded effort, with all five starters playing big minutes and getting to double figures.  Larry Brown has tightened his rotation significantly, with only DJ, Radman and Diop getting action off the bench.  For the game the Cats shot 54%.  They outrebounded the Hawks 40-31, and had 29 assists vs. 10 turnovers.

3.  The Cats opened the game with their best quarter of the season, scoring 36 points on 17-21 FG (81%!).  They looked really sharp in taking advantage of the Hawks lack of interior defense, tallying assists on 14 of 17 field goals, most of them layups.  That scintillating quarter provided a 15 point lead that proved to be just enough cushion for the rest of the game.

The Hawks gradually chipped away at the lead and actually pulled to within two on a Mo Evans tip with 8 minutes left.  However, Radmanovic answered with a high-arching well defended 12-footer on the next possession, followed by Diop getting a tip-in of his own to extend the lead back out to a more comfortable six.

Down the stretch, Raymond Felton had two huge layups (the second one drew a foul on Horford for a three-point play) to put the game away.

4.  After posting a decent first half line of 13 points (6-10 FG), 4 rebounds and 2 blocks, Josh Smith was benched for the second half.  He apparently got into a shouting match with coach Mike Woodson on the way to the locker room for halftime.  No definitive word yet on what the dispute was over, but I have to imagine it had something to do with the crappy defense the Hawks were playing.  Whatever it wasy, Smith’s absence in the second half was certainly an advantage for the Cats.

5.  Gerald Wallace led the way with 21 points (9-13 FG), 7 rebounds, 2 blocks and a team-high +20 +/-.  Felton (17 pts on 7-13 FG and 10 assists) and Diaw (13 points on 6-8 FG and 13 assists) both had double-doubles, as did Okafor (17 points on 6-12 FG, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks).

Raja Bell looked like he was trying to force a similar performance out of his bad shoulder as he managed Wednesday night; didn’t happen as he finished with 5-13 FG (1-6 3PT).  However, he played great defense on Joe Johnson, who never got it going tonight.

Gana Diop deserves special mention again.  In 18 minutes off the bench he had 6 points (3-5 FG) and 7 rebounds (4 offensive).  Just as he did on Wednesday night, Diop was huge spelling Okafor in the fourth quarter, when the opponent was making a mad rush to get back in the game.

6.  I can’t help but think back to the last time we faced the Hawks — exactly a month ago.  Gerald Wallace was out with a lung, and Adam Morrison was subbing for him.  Marvin Williams abused Morrison to the tune of 29 points on 18-20 FTs and the Hawks pulled out a win.  Not coincidentally, Morrison was traded less than 48 hours later.

Now we have a much more functional Vladimir Radmanovic in the Morrison role, and Gerald Wallace back in midseason form — big difference.  Needless to say, Marvin Williams had a much more pedestrian 13 points on 5-15 FG tonight.

7.  The crowd started off disappointingly small for a Friday night, but by the end of the first quarter had filled in a bit to normal “Friday night” levels.  So far, no bump that I could tell from Playoff Mania (or Bojangles All-You-Can-Eat night).  On the other hand, the crowd that was there seemed to be well aware that the Cats are playing well and in the thick of the playoff hunt.

8.  So the NBA scoreboard for the night shows some positive results for the Cats.  Chicago beat Milwaukee to take sole possession of the 8th spot.  This works well as we hold the tiebreaker over the Bulls.  And the Magic beat the Nets, who fall back into a tie with the Cats just 1.5 games back of Chicago.

9.  The Bobcats are off to New York to face D’Antoni’s Knicks on Saturday night (7:30 PM ET).  Elsewhere, Milwaukee will be hosting Golden State in the only other game of consequence to the Cats.  So, uh, go Warriors!

-E