Christmas Eve: Jordan Goes Shopping, Bobcats Fans Can’t Sleep

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We’ve all been there…

The week before xmas rolls around and there are only three gifts under the tree. One is obviously a book; the second is for your sister labeled something stupid like “From: Rudolph”; and the other appears to be a Nintendo game but after you take peek and discover that it’s a nail grooming kit from your Aunt Linda, you begin to worry…

“Am I getting the shaft this year?”

Your anxiety builds up until December 24th, but then, magically, throughout Christmas Eve day, the presents slowly appear. The gifts vary in size…like the gifter had no guidance whatsoever. The tallest one is covered in large trash bags held together by duct tape, the smaller ones are blatantly wrapped at a retail “wrapping station”.

Your mind begins to race…

How did this happen? Santa doesn’t come until xmas morning…who deserves the credit for such a bountiful onslaught of holiday cheer?

Your Dad.

Only your Dad puts off shopping until the very last day. Your Dad is the one who goes  to  Toys ‘R’ Us and “throws money” at anything left on the shelves. The result is a bunch of random-but-awesome shit that you didn’t even ask for…a hockey stick, a leather jacket, two catcher’s mitts…maybe a silk shirt.

My premise is this…Michael Jordan is the dad who shops on xmas eve.

Bobcats fans are in for a real treat when they wake up to a whole room of new players. He already blew the “big one” by giving us our new coach early, so…

What will Michael Jordan be getting us for xmas?

Baron Davis?

This has been widely rumored, and covered earlier by Mike here at Bobcats Baseline:

… [the] rumor goes like this – Bobcats will send promising offensive talent D.J. Augustin, misfit shooter Matt Carroll, and rarely-used backup center Desagana Diop to the Los Angeles Clippers. In return, the Los Angeles Clippers will send Baron Davis, an aging, injury-riddled point guard that is about a decade past his prime.

Don’t forget “out of shape” and “uninspired” when blessing B-Dizzle with adjectives. But hey, could a reunion with Paul Silas and a faster pace of play be the tune-up that Baron needs?  And if the Clippers would take Diop and Carroll’s contracts, Baron’s deal wouldn’t be that hard to swallow.  Can’t say we wouldn’t be intrigued to see this gift under the tree.

Chris Kaman?

Donald Sterling’s second favorite Clipper is also reportedly being aggressively pushed onto the trading block.  Kaman has been a decent traditional center for a couple years now, and actually made the All-Star game for the first time last season while averaging 18 ppg.

But that All-Star selection probably says more about the dearth of solid traditional centers in the West; and besides, it’s looking like it will be a one-time thing for Kaman anyways.  He’s only played 10 games this year due to an ankle injury and is averaging just 10 ppg/7 rpg. If Kaman is stuffed in our stocking with a packet of Fun Dip, we’d toss him aside while we assess what else we haven’t unwrapped.

Andre Miller?

Brandon Roy and Andre Miller have had a tenuous relationship in Portland’s backcourt.  Despite the fact that his long-term viability as the cornerstone of the franchise has been called into question due to his bad knees, Roy reportedly stressed the poor fit between he and Miller to the Trailblazers front office recently.

The Trailblazers have long been enamored with Gerald Wallace.  Connect the dots and you get the Andre Miller for Gerald Wallace rumor.  Miller is 34, but has a reasonable contract and has been amazingly durable and consistently productive for years.  He’d be an upgrade over DJ at the point, but how much of an upgrade?  Getting Miller would be kind of like finding a refurbished iPad under the tree.

Marcus Camby?

To sweeten the pot, the Blazers could include Marcus Camby.  The big man was brought into Portland last year to fortify their Oden-less frontline as they eyed a deep playoff run.  That didn’t work out, and it doesn’t look like it’s in the cards this year either — so Portland is apparently open to retooling.

Camby is 36, but still has a little left.  He’s an athletic big who has essentially become a rebounding and defensive specialist.  If Charlotte commits to running a more uptempo offense, Camby would be a better fit than Nazr Mohammed. If your brother got Gerald Wallace for xmas, and you got Andre and Marcus, would you trade gifts?

JJ Redick?

Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel points out that the net result of the Magic’s two trades was going small for big.  The Magic are now overloaded in the backcourt, with Gilbert Arenas and Jason Richardson pushing Chris Duhon, Jason Williams, Quentin Richardson and JJ Redick for playing time.  Meanwhile, sending Marcin Gortat to the Suns leaves Dwight Howard with no true backup.  The Magic currently go small with Brandon Bass or Ryan Anderson when Howard needs a rest or, god forbid, gets in foul trouble.

That proposition is a bit scary when you’re looking at potentially facing the Boston Celtics in the playoffs.  Could the Magic turn one of their many smalls into a big?  Maybe if they’re willing to part with JJ Redick and take Nazr Mohammed or Gana Diop?

From a basketball standpoint, Redick really duplicates Matt Carroll’s skill set.  That pesky issue aside, it would be hilarious to see Redick on the Bobcats.  In case you weren’t aware, Bobcats (Tarheel) fans have made booing JJ Redick one of the Cable Box’s best traditions.  At this point, the level of derision is so out of proportion to anything that Redick has ever done to affront Bobcat/Tarheel fans that it’s clearly taken on a life of its own.  It would be pretty cool to see Redick turn those boos into delirious cheers by nailing three after three in an uptempo offense. Still, for Tarcats (or Bobheels) Redick would be like getting a big pile of coal in your stocking.

So get to bed early (via Ambien and eggnog), Vitamin Water your tree, and leave out his favorite drink because Michael Jordan coming tonight.

- Deesdale & Dr. E

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Clippers 2/9/09

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1.  The Bobcats hold serve at home tonight against the aimless LA Clippers, 94-73.  AP story here, box score here.  Bobcats go to 20-31; still 3.5 games out of the 8th playoff spot.

2.  The final score is just a tad misleading.  This was an ugly, sloppy and close game in the first half.  The Bobcats pulled away a bit in the third, then put away a tired Clippers squad (finishing up a seven game road trip) in the fourth.

3.  With Gerald Wallace (lung), Raja Bell (groin) and Juwan Howard (toe) out, the Bobcats started with DJ/Felton/Diaw/Okafor/Diop.  New guy Vladimir Radmanovich, despite not having gone through a practice with the team yet, was the first reserve off the bench and ended up playing almost 30 minutes.

And Sean May played for the first time December 11.   I’m pretty sure that I heard as recently as last week that he was still 6-8 pounds away from making weight, and I know he can’t lose a pound a day, so I was surprised to see him out there.  He logged 6 minutes spanning the first and second quarters — and shouldn’t have.  Within seconds of coming in he mishandled a Diaw pass for a turnover (charged to Diaw) and looked very tentative and rusty in general.

4.  Let’s not bury the lead here, though.  The story of the game was the successful debut of Radmanovich.  He looked uncomfortable in the first half, but got in a groove later, and ended with 13 points (5-10 FG, 3-5 3PT), 4 rebounds and 2 assists.  All three of his made three-pointers came during the decisive fourth quarter.  Needless to say, he’s an upgrade over Morrison.

Since he’s got the rap of being a poor defensive player, I tried to watch him a bit on that end.  While he’s a more athletic defender, and thus a better one, than Morrison, he tended to “freelance” a lot: slacking off his man to shut off some imaginary passing/cutting lane, taking weird routes through screens and such.  Fortunately, the Clippers aren’t good enough to take advantage of that, but it will be interesting to see if a better team can.

5.  Okafor had a nice game, with 19 points (8-14 FG), 16 rebounds (4 offensive) and 3 blocks.  He was fairly aggressive in making cuts, post moves, and looking for his offense in general.  I guess that’s what you do when you have Zach Randolph guarding you.

Nice game for DJ Augustin, too: 17 points on 7-10 FG.

6.  Mixed bag from Raymond Felton.  Good news: 15 points, 8 assists and a big +21 +/-.  Bad news: 6-16 FG and 6 turnovers.  As a Felton apologist who knows that it’s better for everyone if we trade him before the deadline, I’ve been working hard to divest and disengage myself from him.  It’s coming along pretty well, too.  Instead of an impassioned “Damnit Raymond!” every time he clanged a shot or had a bad turnover, tonight I mostly just nodded knowingly: that’s Raymond.

The way this is going, I should be able to call myself a former Raymond Felton apologist by the time the trade goes down.

7.  Here’s all you need to know about the Clippers, from Marcus Camby:

“The last game of a trip, I’ve been around a long time, I know how these games can be tough… especially right before the All-Star break, you tend to lose a little focus. Your mind is elsewhere.”

The candor is refreshing, it really is.  He might as well have just said: “Eff it, man, I’m exhausted and we suck.  Besides, I’ve got to decide which resort I’m staying at in Cabo for the All-Star break.  Can’t make up my mind…”

8.  So after some of the home games in February, the team is letting some season ticket holders into the backstage area to “send off” the players.  Tonight was my night, and I stayed for about 45 minutes or so — not long enough to see everyone come out, but enough.  Juwan Howard came first, then Singletary, Bell, Felton, Radmanovich, Wallace, Diaw and Ajinca.  All the guys were unfailingly gracious and polite, signing autographs, taking pictures, shaking hands and making small talk with the fans.  Raja Bell was downright chatty; Boris Diaw’s ability to ham it up made him a big hit with the younger fans.

Like most Bobcats fans, my wife’s favorite player is Gerald Wallace.  As he made his way down the line, I tried to goad her into getting a picture with him — see, she’s loathe to bother someone famous with a request like that.  It is sorta embarrassing for both parties on many levels.  Her last line of protest was: “But he always looks so mean, I don’t want to annoy him.”  Alas, she got over it and asked, and here’s the result:

Gerald Wallace and my Wife

So much for looking mean.  Thanks, Gerald!

9.  Next game is the last one before the break: Wednesday night, hosting the Wizards at 7:00 ET.

-E