The Morning After

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Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer (Click to go to an Observer slideshow of Gerald Wallace: The Bobcat Years))

To recap, at yesterday’s trade deadline, the Bobcats:

  • Traded Gerald Wallace to the Trailblazers for Joel Pryzbilla, Sean Marks, Dante Cunningham, New Orleans’ 2011 1st round draft pick and the Trailblazers’ 2013 1st round draft pick.
  • Traded Nazr Mohammed to the Thunder for Morris Peterson and DJ White
  • Waived Derrick Brown, Sherron Collins and Dominic McGuire to make room on the roster.  It is anticipated that Marks and Peterson may eventually be waived as well.

The Wallace trade is admittedly hard to swallow.  It’s difficult to write about him without sounding histrionic.  Forget that he was the last “original Bobcat” from the inaugural season of the franchise or that he had become its “face”.  The face is superficial.  Wallace embodied the franchise.  Underappreciated, grinding away to overcome obstacles, sacrificing to offset shortcomings, eventually achieving a modicum of success and respect, only to reach a plateau that wasn’t high enough, Wallace’s arc mirrored the Bobcats’.

Though I’d been an advocate of rebuilding, I’d harbored a fantasy that that the Cats could keep Wallace around and do more of a “reboot” on the fly by moving Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and/or Mohammed.  Ultimately, it seems as if the market for those guys wasn’t quite what I’d hoped it might be.

And so faced with a bloody bottom line, a capped out roster, and no better than a 50% chance at making the playoffs this year (indeed, statistical models pegged it as more like 25%), Jordan made the difficult but correct decision to initiate a rebuild by trading the most beloved player on the team for the financial relief he needs and the draft picks this team requires for the future.

Pryzbilla’s contract expires after this season, so the Bobcats effectively saved the $21 million that would have been due Gerald Wallace over the following two season.  And most importantly, the Bobcats get two first round draft picks.  Yes, both of these picks will likely be mid-late first round.  Yes, the 2011 draft doesn’t look particularly strong.  Yes, the Hornets pick won’t come around until 2013.  And yes, Jordan’s history with the draft is anything but sterling.

But the object is to build a winner.  Building a winner in the NBA takes stars.  And small-market teams have only one way to get stars — the draft.

After trying the Larry Brown team-building model for a couple of years, it appears that Jordan has come around to the above reality.  It was time, folks.

Notes

  • So the Bobcats will get a look at two young power forwards.  Dante Cunningham is signed to a minimal deal through the rest of the season, while DJ White is on his rookie contract through next year, with a reasonable qualifying offer for the 2012-13 season.  White is the better prospect, having been selected late in the first round in the 2008 draft, but has been saddled with injuries and caught in a numbers game at the 4 spot in Oklahoma City when healthy.
  • Speculation now turns to the coming offseason and whether Stephen Jackson and/or Boris Diaw can/will be traded as the next step in the rebuild.  Frankly, now that Gerald Wallace is gone, I’d just as soon prefer the Cats go ahead and do that.
  • The Bobcats will face Wallace and the Trailblazers next Saturday, March 5th in Portland.  Then the following Friday, March 11th, the Cats will host Wallace and the Trailblazers here in Charlotte.

-Dr. E

POLL : What's your reaction to the Gerald Wallace trade?

  • Anger: Screw MJ, I'm done as a fan of this team! (14%, 23 Votes)
  • Sadness: I can't even talk about it... (16%, 26 Votes)
  • Acceptance: I'm disappointed, but understand. (51%, 83 Votes)
  • Shoulda been Jack. (19%, 30 Votes)

Total Voters: 162

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Bobcats To Cut Derrick Brown, and Teammates

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Yahoo! Sports has posted a report that the Charlotte Bobcats will waive reserve Point Guard Sherron Collins, in addition to Forwards Derrick Brown and Dominic McGuire.

The team is set to receive veteran guard Morris Peterson and Forward D.J. White from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for veteran Center Nazr Mohammed (who holds an expiring contract). With replacements arriving at their positions, the Bobcats will discard the young talents of Derrick Brown( Forward) and Sherron Collins (Guard). While Derrick Brown showed a few glimpses of ability, the other pair of Bobcats rarely fit into the team’s rotation. McGuire was valued to previous head coach Larry Brown, but had made little impact after the coaching change.

While Charlotte sent fan-favorite Gerald Wallace on to a winning club in Portland and Mohammed to a contender in OKC, the team is set to cast off Brown, Collins, and McGuire in order to make room for the load of unimpressive ballers. It’s unknown if the team will retain or has plans to resign any of the waived players in the event of a retirement or buy-out of newly-acquired Center Joel Pryzbilla.

Link: Yahoo! Sports Story on Bobcats Trades

Bobcats’ Rally Attempt Ended by Heat, Themselves

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Let's hope we can remove him from the milk carton now. (Photo by Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images)

Recap | Box Score

If there’s one thing everyone should know about the Charlotte Bobcats, it’s that they are not a great shooting team. The roster is built mostly on cutters – players who drive to the paint to score.

And tonight, against one of the best teams in the league, the Bobcats tried to cap a rally by trying to become what they most certainly are not. Of course, it didn’t work as Charlotte’s offense couldn’t keep up with Miami’s and the Bobcats fell to the Heat, 109-97.

The game started off as well as a Bobcats fan could hope, with Boris Diaw facilitating early and getting Kwame Brown involved, leading to a 17-9 lead going into the first timeout. From there, the Heat got back into it with LeBron contributing by hitting all four of his first-half shots. Also helping out was Dwyane Wade, who was said to be unsure about even playing tonight (yeah, right). Wade was making the hard shots and getting to the cup without too much trouble.

Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace also played well in the first half. Jackson was hitting his shots, mostly mid-range jumpers, at a decent clip and even drew fouls to get to the line. At the half, he had 11 points on 3-6 shooting and 4-4 from the stripe. Gerald Wallace was great in the first half as well, hitting five of 11 shots, including a three and he added three free throws for 14 points in the first half. D.J. Augustin also was playing well as far as passing, although his shooting left much to desire.

But keeping the Bobcats from leading in the first half was their interior defense. LeBron and Wade both can drive into the paint with such ease that opponents must have good transition and interior defenses. While the Bobcats are decent on transition defense, their interior defense still isn’t anything to be afraid of, even with Kwame Brown’s resurgence. Anyway, when LeBron or Wade drove to the paint, the Bobcats interior defense would collapse to compensate, leaving Miami’s spot-up men alone at the arc. The driving ballhandler kicks out to the sharpshooter and Bobcats players rush to contest the shot but it’s too late. The result? In the first half, Mike Miller was 3-3 and Eddie House was 1-1 from deep. This also occurred with the Bobcats’ big men leaving Zydrunas Ilgauskas alone to guard the paint. Ilgauskas would knock down three out of four mid-range shots in the first half.

The score at the half was Miami – 59, Charlotte – 55.

Then came the Bobcats’ worst fear – the third quarter. Somehow they survived, mostly by playing better defense than the first two quarters, “holding” the Heat to 50% shooting while the Bobcats managed 44%. As such, the Bobcats had a very manageable six-point deficit heading into the final quarter.

In one of the more noggin-scratching moves of the night, Paul Silas started Sherron Collins at the point to begin the fourth quarter. If Sherron Collins’ defense was a publicly held corporation that sold stock, you either should have sold it when he stepped on the court. In the first two minutes of the 4th quarter, Eddie House (Sherron’s man) hit 3 three-pointers. And while Sherron did hit a three of his own, that’s just not enough. I understand that Livingston doesn’t have the shooting ability from deep that Collins has, but Livingston’s defense and length are assets that definitely would have helped in the fourth. Regardless, the Heat turned a 6-point lead into a 12-point lead.

But then the Bobcats began to climb back into it with Augustin back in. With eight minutes left, the Bobcats were right back in the game, only down by six.

But then the Bobcats tried to be who they weren’t, as I mentioned way above. Despite having most of their success from good ball movement and getting the rock into the paint, Stephen Jackson and D.J. Augustin started jacking long range jump shots that just weren’t falling. Augustin ended the night shooting 1-6 FG and 1-4 from three. Jackson went 1-5 from the field in the fourth, with three missed treys in the final period. I understand that the Bobcats had to resort to shooting the long ball to try to get back into the game, but that should only come with a big deficit with not a lot of time left. Down six points with about seven minutes left is not the time to abandon your strengths to try for the quick fix. While the Bobcats were shooting poorly, the Heat were not. Chris Bosh emerged from his poor first three quarters with 8 points in the final 12 minutes. Either way, the Bobcats killed themselves in the fourth. But, it was an entertaining game for most of the night and the Heat are an extremely good team, especially when all of their ‘Big Three’ are healthy (Wade had a triple double and LeBron was two rebounds and an assist away from a triple double).

Notable Plays

The Bobcats had some great plays in this game, despite the loss. In the second quarter the Bobcats went on a dunk parade with Gerald Henderson smashing a couple and Gerald Wallace getting in on the action. There was also a very nice play at the end of the first half where Augustin split a double-team beneath the basket to find a cutting Derrick Brown who got the bucket and drew the foul.

Stats leaders:

Bobcats

Wallace: 9-19 FG, 25 PTS, 10 REBS, 2 AST, 1 BLK

Jackson: 7-17 FG, 25 PTS, 3 REBS, 5 AST, 2 STL

Henderson: 6-10 FG, 14 PTS, 2 REBS, 1 AST, 3 BLK (I love that he’s developing into a great 6th man)

Heat

Wade: 8-20 FG, 22 PTS, 12 REBS, 10 AST

James: 7-13 FG, 19 PTS, 8 REBS, 9 AST

And a quick note: Yes, the officiating was iffy at best in the fourth quarter (in favor of the Heat, of course), but to blame the whole loss on the referees is absolutely absurd. The Bobcats got to the line more than the Heat did anyway. The real blame for this loss resides on the Heat being a superiorly talented team and the Bobcats straying from their best offensive strategy.

- 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.

The New Guy On The New Guys

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Hello there, loyal Bobcats Baseline readers and Charlotte Bobcats fans. If I may introduce myself, I am Cardboard Gerald, the newest contributor to this fantastic website. As you may have noticed, the website has undergone some intense changes (of which I am a big fan). Accompanying these innovations, the Baseline’s major contributors have decided to add me to the writing staff. I am excited to have this opportunity to write for one of the best Bobcats blogs out there. Originally I was supposed to be Senior Headline Writer and G-Force Cardboard Specialist but I guess the Baseline guys see some real talent in me.

In fact, I owe these guys a lot. They were the first to really notice me and my friend back when they wrote the article about us and our signs. Somehow it made it to Deadspin, where a multitude of readers apparently thought we were so awesome that they felt they had to make aggressive projective comments to make sure people didn’t think they were uncool.

Anyway, from there it kind of blew up to a minor degree, including a picture on the front page of the Charlotte Observer’s business section.

But considering I’ll be writing in this space on a regular basis, let me tell you about what I’m like and who I am.

I love this game. I have a serious love/hate relationship with Kurtis Blow’s “Basketball” because I don’t think it’s passionate enough.

I like to think I’m funny. I may or may not be, but that’s for you to decide. Regardless of your opinion, I’ll be using lots of satire, puns and my specialty, sarcasm.

I am a sneakerhead. I don’t even particularly like that name for sneaker enthusiasts but it’s the best name to describe the sub-culture. Feel free to chat me up on twitter (@CardboardGerald) or wherever about sneakers.

I love ultra-athletic forwards. Shawn Kemp in his Sonics years is my favorite player of all time. Gerald Wallace follows a similar mold and adds the perseverance and determination that wins over just about any basketball fan. To say I was a huge advocate for bringing in Tyrus Thomas last year would be an understatement. I love his style of play. Yes, it still needs some refining, but you can’t tell me he’s not headed in the right direction with the Bobcats.

I despise most rosterbation. Of course, like any NBA fan, I love the idea of some trades and get excited about some when I read rumors. However, when I’m reading through some comments on other blogs and I see stuff randomly shoehorned into the comment section like, “Hey, let’s get So-and-so! [Insert link to espn trade machine here],” I can’t stand it. Why? Most of it is stupid, thoughtless garbage and has a .000015439 percent chance of happening. The Trail Blazers are not going to ship us Greg Oden and his knee for Nazr Mohammed or DeSagana Diop. What, does Oden have Ebola? Okay, soapbox over.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at the new guys on the Bobcats roster. This new group hasn’t exactly been lauded by the rest of the sports community, to say the least. So let’s take a look: there’s Shaun Livingston, Dominic McGuire, Eduardo Najera, Matt Carroll, Sherron Collins and Kwame Brown.

Shaun Livingston (KNEE MAN!)

I am ecstatic to see Livingston on our team. Maybe I’m a sucker for the underdog story of a guy who fell from being a much-hyped kid coming straight out of high school to an injury prone journeyman but I think he can be a decent contributor to the Bobcats in his first year. At this point I would like to give Livingston a nickname. I shall from now on call him, “Knee Man.”

Knee Man brings some great things to the table for the Cats. Now, we all know that Larry Brown likes his players lean and athletic. Knee Man certainly follows in this mold. His size cannot go unmentioned. The man is 6 feet 7 inches tall – huge size advantage over most point guards. You’ll be sure to see a lineup with Knee Man at the point where everyone on the court for the Bobcats are 6 foot 7 or taller. Also, he has a terrific post game. If you don’t believe me, watch this highlights video from his previous season with the Wizards. If you do believe me, watch it anyway: it’s pretty good. He’s also an incredibly efficient passer. Last season about 30 percent of his possessions ended with an assist (hoopdata) which, to put it in comparison, was one percentage point higher than Raymond Felton’s.

However, Knee Man does have his shortcomings. The most concerning is his injury status. Should an injury come up (knock on wood), Sherron Collins would be our backup point guard. You hear that? All of Bobcats Nation just took a gulp. Another problem is that Knee Man has no outside shooting. But that’s not a big deal considering his above-average post game. Knee Man is pretty efficient scorer though. He doesn’t score a lot, though he had a great field goal percentage last year. He also doesn’t get to the line often and his defense will more than likely be a drop down from Felton although Larry Brown could improve that.

As a final note on Knee Man, don’t worry about his game last night against the Mavs. It looked a little disjointed, but that should be expected when you sit out the whole preseason and much of training camp. If he’s healthy, expect Knee Man to get more comfortable and to get back down around a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio.

Dominic McGuire

I don’t really know what to say about this guy. Does anyone? If I may use some terminology from ol’ Donald Rumsfeld, he’s an ‘unknown unknown.’ He’s 6 foot 9 forward who Larry Brown says “can handle it, pass it, [and] he’s athletic.” Another one of LB’s projects, McGuire is raw potential. Of course, that’s just what Larry loves. McGuire describes himself as “do-it-all type” and a point-forward. “People will see I can pass the ball, I can bring the ball up-court. I’m very athletic, and I get to the rim and play defense” (Observer).

I haven’t been able to see him play because of a lack of preseason television broadcasts and an inability to pick up the radio station broadcasts. McGuire is out for about 5 more weeks with a stress fracture in his left shin.

Matt Carroll

The Charlotte Bobcats prodigal son returned this offseason in a trade with Dallas. I won’t go into much detail since his game is pretty simple and most of us know what he can do. He’s a shooter pure and simple. He’ll hustle his butt off but he’s not a great defender and he has trouble getting to the hoop, which isn’t good for a Larry Brown team. I have heard that he can dunk though!

Eduardo Najera

Najera is a power forward who is probably best described as Mexican Don Draper trying to be Rasheed Wallace. But he wasn’t always like that. I don’t know what happened the summer of 2007 but Najera went from taking no more than 21 shots from downtown to 147 in 2007-08 alone. He combined for 24 three point attempts in the two season prior with nearly identical minutes. Someone please call Leonard Nimoy.

Anyway, Najera is known as pure hustle guy. That held true during the Hawks preseason game I attended. He got some garbage time and played hard. However, he also proceeded to jack long jump shots that he missed.

Sherron Collins

I believe Sherron Collins is a genuinely decent point guard. He’s short (5’11”) and has some weight issues right now but that’s nothing a documentary on Sean May can’t cure. I think he has some decent court vision and passing skills. He isn’t a terrible shooter either. The one major concern is his height and weight. He needs to lose weight to be able to stay with the ultra-quick point guards of the NBA.

Kwame Brown

Here it is: the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Kwame Brown. Like McGuire, I see him as a bit of an ‘unknown unknown.’ He’s a big body, which the ‘Cats need so at least he can get some rebounds. Of course his main problems, as they’ve been with him his whole NBA career, are small hands and poor footwork.

The one thing I can’t figure out is the reasoning behind this move. There were lots of other big bodies available when we signed Kwame. Why would Jordan want to okay a move to bring back his most notorious failure unless they saw something in him? Maybe I’m way, WAY off base here, but my Spidey Sense tingles concerning that roster move.

But of course, Kwame is still out with his severely sprained ankle for at least two more weeks.

-Cardboard Gerald

Meet The Bobcats Summer League Squad, Starring Darius Miles!

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darius-miles

The Bobcats have announced their full list of Summer League Campers, and whoo-boy are there some fun names.

While most of the NBA will focused for the next couple of weeks on the machinations of a once-in-a-generation free-agency class (Lebron, D. Wade, Bosh, Joe Johnson, Amare, Carlos Boozer, Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki), or the summer league debuts of their full-of-promise lottery picks (John Wall, Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, Wesley Johnson, DeMarcus Cousins), the Bobcats are going to be taking a hard look at Darius Miles.

After the Memphis Grizzlies played “the island” to Miles’ John Locke in the 2008-09 season (“Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”), Miles added some more paperwork to his knucklehead file with a marijana arrest.  That, and the fact that Miles apparently managed to corrupt OJ Mayo in the few months they shared a locker room led to Miles being out of basketball for the 2009-10 season.

But Miles resurfaced in May at a Bobcats Free Agent Mini-Camp, where Larry Brown gushed that he’d been angling to get Miles on his team since he came into the league.  Miles stated that the reason he wanted to try to come back was so his 2 year old son could see him play.  That’s nice, but I’ve seen enough Outside The Lines segments to know that it’s code for “I’m broke.”

Challenging Miles for the title of “Shadiest Character Wearing a Bobcats Practice Jersey in Orlando” will be Shawne Williams.  Williams was the 17th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, but has bounced around the league his whole career, last playing 15 games with the Mavericks in the 2008-09 season.  Why, you might ask?  (Fast-forward to 5:00)

Larry Brown brushed off concerns about Williams’ shady past (present?) by focusing on his need to get in shape if he wants a chance at an NBA career.  Not selling drugs will help, too.

In addition to Miles and Williams, actual Bobcats Gerald Henderson, Derrick Brown and Alexis Ajinca will be in Orlando making their cases for expanded roles in the upcoming season.

And we’ve already touched on Sherron Collins, Denis Clemente, Tyren Johnson and Marquis Gilstrap in a previous post.

Rounding out the list are Alade “Yes, I’m Al-Farooq’s older, less talented brother” Aminu, Antonio “So Close, Yet So Far Away” Anderson (who nearly made the Bobcats roster last year and had two 10-days with OKC this past season), Brandon Bowman, Marcus “Gotta Have a Tarheel, Right?” Ginyard (who’s already bitching about the accommodations in Orlando), Brandon Hazzard, Nathan Jawai, Jerel McNeal, Jeremy Pargo, Pape Sow and PJ Tucker.

Those 19 guys will begin practicing in Orlando today through Sunday, July 4.  Several will likely be sent home before the Bobcats begin actual summer league games on Tuesday, July 5.

-Dr. E

Bobcats Sign Sherron Collins, Others To Summer League Roster

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Sherron Collins

After passing on the 2010 NBA Draft last week, the Bobcats have signed several undrafted rookie free agents to their summer league roster.  Ridiculous Upside is all over the topic; check them out to find out the destinations of all the other “worth a look in summer league, but not worth drafting” type of guys.

The biggest name attached to the Bobcats so far is former Kansas point guard Sherron Collins.  Despite a storied career at Kansas, Collins went undrafted mostly due to his size.  He’s a bit short for the NBA at 5’10-11″, and struggled with his weight and conditioning throughout his college career, sometimes pushing 220+.  Collins left a bad last impression when he played poorly as Kansas was knocked out in the second round of the 2010 NCAA tournament.

He then showed up at the NBA draft combine this spring weighing 217 pounds (not good when you’re supposed to be in the best shape of your life) and further compounded the problem when he weighed 229 pounds at a group workout in New Jersey a few weeks later.  The excuse of a nagging groin injury didn’t ease scouts’ concerns, and Collins’ draft potential was effectively torpedoed.

Nonetheless, he’s strong, surprisingly quick, and (2010 NCAA tournament aside) knows how to win.  KansasCity.com reports that Collins has signed a free-agent contract with the Bobcats, which gets him a spot on the summer league team and not much else.  Here’s hoping that Collins gets in shape and impresses.  Larry Brown always has room for another point guard (especially with Felton likely leaving via free agency).   Plus, if Collins makes the team, then we can recycle our old Sean May fat jokes!

The Bobcats have also reportedly gotten commitments from several other undrafted rookie free agents:

Another guy to keep an eye on is Mikhail Torrance, a 6’5″ PG from Alabama who impressed at the Portsmouth Invitational Camp this spring.  The words “6’5″ senior point guard” alone probably make Larry Brown start drooling.  Bonnell floated his name over a month ago; because of that and the fact that Torrance was widely expected to be a solid second round pick, I figured he was the target the Bobcats were aiming for when talking about buying a second rounder.

However, some sort of cardiac issue scared off GMs in the second round, and Torrance went undrafted.  He is now supposedly mulling multiple summer league offers, hopefully in addition to getting that ticker checked out.  Only the Miami Heat are mentioned, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that the Bobcats are one of the other teams interested.

After not fielding a summer league team last year in a sad attempt to save some of Bob Johnson’s cash, the Bobcats will again be a part of the Orlando Summer League this summer.  The Cats had previously confirmed that Alexis Ajinca, Gerald Henderson and Derrick Brown will be a part of the summer league squad.  Games start on July 5th — just a week away — so be on the lookout for more news this week about a few more additions to round out the roster.

-Dr. E