Kwame Brown – What?

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Jordan Bringing Kwame to The Cats

ESPN.com just posted this story about Kwame Brown coming to the Charlotte Bobcats.

A reunion that no one in the NBA expected will be taking place in Charlotte this season when Kwame Brown suits up for the Michael Jordan-owned Bobcats.
Brown’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPN.com on Monday that the 27-year-old has agreed to sign a one-year deal with the Bobcats.
The deal, for the league’s veteran minimum, will bring Brown and Jordan back together after Jordan drafted the power forward straight out of high school in Washington with the No. 1 overall pick in 2001 in a move that worked out disastrously for both of them.

Man, what are the Bobcats thinking on this one?
Could they be securing another Center because Dampier, Diop, or Mohammed will be traded?


POLL : Bobcats Sign Kwame Brown

  • Like It
    (54%, 97 Votes)
  • Hate It
    (11%, 19 Votes)
  • What?
    (35%, 63 Votes)

Total Voters: 179

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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

What To Do with Dampier? – Part 1

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Mo Williams ©2010 NBA

Michael Jordan bragged openly last month that the team had acquired the League’s “most valuable contract” when they sent bust Tyson Chandler to Dallas in return for Erick Dampier and a couple of overpaid 12th men.  How valuable exactly?  MJ and GM Rod Higgins will have at least another month and a half to mull over the decision as they wait the mandatory 60 days before Damp, Eduardo Najera or Matt Carroll can be traded again in a package.

So what will they do with all of this “value”?
In order to answer the question, we need to first look hard at the team’s present situation.

Continue reading

More Fuel For The Chris Paul Fire

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cp3

Save for some banter in the comments and the occasional tweet (oh, and this post from back in April), we’ve tried to treat the Chris Paul “rumors” with a healthy dose of skeptisicm here at Bobcats Baseline.  As my colleague ASChin noted (biting Owen Wilson in the process):  What in Jordan’s history in the front office makes you think he’s capable of something like that?

But this story refuses to die.  First, Rick Bonnell elevated it from “internet rumor” to “semi-legitimate story” with this piece from the weekend that was widely linked to around the intertubes:

Chris Paul as a Charlotte Bobcat isn’t crazy.  It’s unlikely. It’s undoubtedly problematic…

But it’s doable, and I’m told it’s a twinkle in the eyes of this team’s decision-makers.

I figured the resolution of the New Orleans Hornets GM vacancy earlier this week might help to calm the speculation down. Wednesday afternoon, ESPN’s John Hollinger even tweeted that Trail Blazer maniacs needed to “stop asking me about CP3. Not happening for at least a year, if ever.”

But Wednesday night CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger tossed a drum of gasoline onto the smoldering embers with this dispatch, titled “New Hornets brass already facing crisis with Paul“.  An excerpt to whet your appetite for the link:

Paul, in fact, has put into motion an aggressive exit strategy that will accelerate in the coming weeks, and his clear intention is to be traded before the start of the 2010-11 season, a person with direct knowledge of his plans told CBSSports.com Wednesday.  “He wants out,” said the person…

Now never mind that Berger also reveals that Paul’s list of preferred destinations “consists of the Knicks, Magic and Lakers.”  What we Bobcats fans know that Berger doesn’t is that Paul really wants to play in his home state, for the founder of the Jumpman brand he endorses, and for Larry Brown.  And that we have cap relief in the form of Dampier’s contract waiting.

And that Carmelo Anthony is coming next.  For Gana Diop.  To complete Team Jumpman.  With World Wide Wes as special advisor.

Right?

-Dr. E

P.S.  Typing in C-h-r-i-s-P-a-u into Google gets you “Chris Paul” followed by “Chris Paul to bobcats” as the top two suggestions.  Ridiculous…




Bobcats Sign Shaun Livingston

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Shaun Livingston (Jose Argueta/Wizards Photos/Wizards.com)

The Charlotte Bobcats signed free agent point guard Shaun Livingston to a two-year, $7 million dollar contract today.  Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Cats will hold a team option for a third season.  Here are links for the AP story and Bonnell’s for the Observer.

Livingston is best known for the horrific knee injury he sustained in 2007 while playing in his third season for the Los Angeles Clippers.  Sadly, getting to “S-h-a-u-n L-” in a google search gets you suggestions of “Shaun Livingston” followed by “Shaun Livingston injury”.

After coming into the league straight from high school and seeing limited playing time his first two years, the skinny, 6’7″ point guard had begun to fulfill his potential during the 2006-07 season, averaging 9 points and 5 assists in almost 30 minutes a game.

However, disaster struck on February 26, 2007 as the Clippers were hosting (ironically) the Bobcats.  After Raymond Felton made a clean challenge on his breakaway layup attempt, Livingston landed awkwardly.  His left knee buckled medially, shredding his ACL and PCL and completely dislocating the joint in the process.

I remember being up late watching that game and cringing.  Video is readily available on the internet, as is a particularly gruesome photo that’s worth seeking out if you’ve ever wondered what the distal end of your femur looked like.

Livingston spent the 2007-08 season out of basketball rehabbing.  Since then, he has bounced around from the Heat to the Grizzlies to the Thunder before winding up with the Wizards late last season.  It was there where Livingston seemed to get his groove back.  He played in 26 games down the stretch in Washington’s lost season, starting 18 while averaging 25 minutes, 9 points and 4.5 assists per game.

Prior to today’s signing, the Bulls had shown interest in Livingston this summer, while there was sentiment in Washington that he should be resigned to back up John Wall.

Livingston makes sense for Larry Brown.  Whether it’s horrific injuries or horrific off-the-court troubles, LB loves a reclamation project.  He also likes long players who see the court well.

And there’s no question that the Cats needed some point guard depth, but Livingston’s signing is curious nonetheless.  We now have two backup-quality point guards on the roster, both being paid backup (and not “end of the bench emergency third point guard”) money.  I don’t think it’s too pessimistic to say that we are in trouble if we enter this coming season with DJ and Livingston battling it out to be the starter, nor can we realistically afford to pay one of them what they are owed for being the third point guard.

What I’m trying to say is that I think Jordan is still in the market for a starting-caliber point guard, and that the writing may be on the wall for DJ here.  Just sayin…

And here’s a couple other tidbits before I hit the sack:

  • Here’s a quick note by Bonnell regarding a small hitch in how we can use Dampier’s contract in a subsequent trade.  Essentially, Dampier’s contract can be traded anytime, but it can’t be packaged with another player/contract for 60 days.
  • Larry Hughes says he’s talked to the Bobcats about returning, but that he’s “waiting for the right situation to come up.”  Replace “the right” with “any” and I think the statement will be more accurate…

-Dr. E



POLL : What Should Bobcats Do With Erick Dampier?

  • Waive & Save $13 Mill
    (16%, 35 Votes)
  • Waive & Resign
    (12%, 26 Votes)
  • Trade For Point Guard
    (55%, 124 Votes)
  • Trade For Draft Picks (17%, 39 Votes)

Total Voters: 224

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Lazy Sunday Links

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Sitting around waiting for a goal to be scored in the World Cup final on this sweltering Sunday afternoon?  Lucky for you, as is often the case on Sundays, there’s some pretty good reading out there.

LebronWadeBosh

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Brian Windhorst offers a must-read on how the stage was set for these guys to join forces in “South Beach.”  As the Sports Guy has pointed out, there’s way more to this story that will hopefully come out in time, but this is a great start:

Now that the move has been made, the veil of secrecy is being raised to a degree as people are beginning to talk. The Plain Dealer talked to numerous sources to piece together a picture of how James ended up in Miami.  It is still a somewhat fuzzy picture, but here are the broad strokes…

And if you haven’t had a chance to read any of the overwhelmingly negative national reaction to Lebron’s decision, here are two excellent pieces from Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Deadspin/New York Magazine’s Will Leitch.

Felton to Knicks

Details of Raymond’s deal with the Knicks are out.  Apparently the deal is for 2 years/$15.8 million.  There is a third year team option for a similar figure which could bring the deal in the neighborhood of $25 million over three years.  Raymond’s decision to pass up the Bobcats’ long term offer last summer is looking worse and worse from his perspective.  Still wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish his career back in Charlotte as a backup down the road.

Here’s Bonnell’s story for the Observer and some more quotes from a South Carolina paper.  You can tell it’s a South Carolina paper because of the headline: “Felton looks forward to bright lights of the Big Apple”.  Good grief.

Orlando Summer League

We’ve given the Bobcats’ mostly positive turn in last week’s Orlando Summer League short shrift here at the Baseline, but it’s not for lack of caring.  Look for a post on the subject in the coming days.  In the meantime, here’s Bonnell from the Observer with some thoughts:

Gerald Henderson and Derrick Brown can be trusted with bigger roles next season… It’s dangerous to put too much weight on summer-league performances — you’re supposed to excel against D-Leaguers — but it was obvious Henderson an Brown are figuring out what it takes to be productive on the NBA level.

The national media outlets pay less attention to the Orlando Summer league relative to the bigger and better Las Vegas Summer League; and when they do cover Orlando, the rookies (Philly’s Evan Tuner and New Jersey’s Derrick Favors in this case) get most of the attention.  Despite that, there were several mentions of the Bobcats young vets looking good.

Michael Jordan in Charlotte

Scott Fowler has a nice article in today’s Observer on Michael Jordan’s increased presence in the city of Charlotte and the Bobcats front office since he, you know, bought the team:

In the three months or so since Jordan bought the Charlotte Bobcats from Bob Johnson and became the team’s majority owner, Jordan’s visibility both in the community and in the Bobcats’ offices has increased dramatically.

Jordan has bought a home in uptown Charlotte five minutes from Time Warner Cable Arena and plans to start living there part time in September…

There’s also a slideshow of pictures from the Bobcats Fantasy Camp mentioned in the article.  As I write this, the article is currently the “Most Viewed” on the Observer’s website, and I’ve already been part of an email thread amongst friends discussing it.

Clearly, people care about how engaged Jordan is with the city of Charlotte.  The Bobcats are aware of it; they included questions about “how important” it was to me whether or not Jordan purchased a home here in a survey sent to season ticket holders recently.  Seriously.

Hopefully, people at least see Jordan’s level of engagement with the city an indicator of how engaged he is with the team.  If so, fine.  I suppose it’s a reasonable proxy.

But I guess I’m just a different kind of fan (clearly, I have a blog).  I could care less whether Jordan buys a house in Charlotte, or bowls and eats at the Epicentre.  I don’t need to put on a “Jordan Brand” t-shirt and drool over him at a “fantasy” camp.

I’d be much more happy if the team made sound financial/personnel decisions, stopped whiffing on draft picks, and thus consistently put a competitive basketball team on the court.  They’ve had trouble doing that over the history of the franchise.

2010’s playoff experience was undoubtedly a positive thing, but I’m still dubious of the Cats’ chances for on-court success in the medium-term due to salary cap issues and a lack of elite young talent.

Don’t sell me a bunch of sizzling Air Jordan “value-added” side dishes when the main course needs work.

-Dr. E




Bobcats Blow Fourth Quarter Lead In Loss To Raptors

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Charlotte Bobcats vs Raptors, 3/29/10


The Charlotte Bobcats dropped another winnable game to the Toronto Raptors, 103-101, on Monday night at the Cable Box.  The Cats led by six points to start the final period before falling behind.  A mad scramble in the closing 90 seconds resulted in one last chance for the Cats, down two, to tie or win.  However, Raymond Felton couldn’t connect with a cutting Tyson Chandler and the ball bounced out of bounds to ensure the loss.

AP recap here |  Box score here

Things looked pretty good for the Cats after three quarters.  No one was playing extraordinarily; instead it was a pretty well-rounded effort.  The Cats had contained Chris Bosh, and kept Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu very much in check.

But some issues lurked.  Stephen Jackson was in full-on “I’m more interested in barking at the refs instead of beating the Raptors” mode after being in foul trouble all game.  The Cats had not been able to turn the Raps over very much (10 Raptor turnovers, only 7 fast break points for the Bobcats).  The Cats were outrebounded 38-31.

Furthermore, the Cats had not taken enough advantage of the Raptors notoriously bad defense (only 24 points in the paint).  Being without the high-flying antics of  Tyrus Thomas (ankle) and the low-post scoring of Nazr Mohammed (back, still) didn’t help here, but the Raps also usually give up more penetration into the lane than the Cats were able to manage.

These shortcomings allowed the Raps a chance to make a few clutch shots in the decisive fourth quarter and overcome the Cats.  Jarrett Jack, Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu all hit big threes.  Jarrett Jack then added three free throws after drawing a foul on Raymond outside the arc to push the Raps lead to 100-93 with just under 3 minutes left.

From there, Stephen Jackson’s five straight points and the Raptors’ 3-6 performance from the free throw line conspired to make the finish interesting.  With 13 seconds left, the Cats got the ball down two.  With Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and Gerald Wallace camped out along the three-point line for the kickout, Raymond Felton drove into the lane, moving from right to left.  As the defense collapsed on Raymond, Tyson Chandler cut to the basket.

If you want to blame it on Tyson, say that he didn’t take a great angle to the basket on his cut (or that he probably wouldn’t have caught the pass if it came right to him — probably true).  If you want to blame it on Raymond (more appropriate) say that he flat-out threw an errant pass.

Whatever you choose, they didn’t connect.  The ball bounced out of bounds with a couple seconds left, leaving the Raps to simply complete an inbounds play to steal the win.

Tidbits

  • I’ll keep my bitching brief, because “he is who he is” and on balance, he’s been a big positive for the Cats.  But if Jack could channel half the vitriol he directs at the officials towards his opponent, he’d get that All-Star recognition he supposedly covets so much.  The Cats would also probably get an extra couple of wins over 82 games.  In the third quarter, after fouling Bargnani, getting under his skin and drawing a tech on the Italian, and hitting the technical free throw, Jack couldn’t stop yapping at the ref about the loose ball foul that started it all, eventually garnering a tech of his own.  Pointless…
  • Tyson Chandler rolled an ankle in the second quarter and left for the the locker room.  After a retape (I presume) he did return.
  • Owner Michael Jordan was back in his benchside seat and got into it with the refs in the fourth quarter when the Raps were taking the game over.  Didn’t help…
  • Shame about that last turnover for Raymond — before it he had played another really nice game with 18 points (7-12 FG, 4-5 3PT), 5 rebounds and 7 assists.
  • The loss drops the Cats to 38-35 and 7th place in the East.  We’re 1.5 games behind 6th place Miami and 2 games ahead of 8th place Toronto.  Tonight’s loss gives Toronto the season series at 2-1, should we finished tied with them.  Hollinger’s playoff odds are currently predicting that we’ll finish in 7th place, 1 game behind Miami.
  • 9 games left: 5 home, 4 away.  Next one is Monday night at home against the 76ers — follow me on Twitter for in-game tweets.

-Dr. E