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Why the Bobcats won the trade deadline in their own special way

Feb 26, 2011, 1:41 PM EST

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers

“Blow it up!”

Smart fans in Charlotte have been begging for that for years. They saw what many did. A roster ballooned full with veterans too old to develop, of marginal talent and ability, meshed together with some poor draft picks in an untenable salary situation that kept trying to reinvent itself by giving away more picks and taking on more salary. For a while, I bought into the idea that this was what was best for the Cats. After all, what free agent is going to go to Charlotte with a franchise firmly stuck in the lottery. And given the team’s history of drafting, what hope did they have of finding the next great star with a 6-14 spot? Better to reinvent themselves through trade, finding players who fit Larry Brown’s ideal, that he could surprise the league with in terms of effectiveness. Say what you want for Brown’s cats, but they did that. They defended, they worked, they killed themselves to get the job done, and they managed to finally make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Then, it all fell apart, as we either should have, or did know it always would. The team came unglued with not enough talent after the departure of Raymond Felton, got off to a terrible start, and Brown was fired. Paul Silas is not the coach you keep bringing in high-priced trades for.

There’s an element to their decision to detonate things that goes beyond wins and losses. Michael Jordan, when purchasing the team from owner Robert Johnson, was basically paying off debt. That’s all. And as a result, the team’s still taking in what is possibly the biggest loss of any franchise. The fans in Charlotte haven’t gotten over the sting (sorry) of the Hornets leaving town, and this team has given them no reason to buy in. If they weren’t going to compete for a few playoff wins at least, and they weren’t, it was time, financially, to liquidate their assets. It was time from a basketball perspective, a financial perspective, a common sense perspective. So they did.

And they’re getting killed for it.

They traded their All-Star, Gerald Wallace for two first-round picks and  Joel Przybilla’s expiring. Getting Batum would have been nice, sure. But in reality, this gets them what they need. Money off the books and draft picks. It’s a house cleaning, which is what needed to happen. Moving Nazr Mohammed for Mo Peterson’s expiring and D.J. White helped with the same thing, although Mohammed was an expiring as well. They get back a young player with some potential and still lose the money.

It was unlikely that the Cats would be able to move both Wallace and Jackson, so Jackson stays. But this summer, he’s got to be moved, even at a quarter on the dollar, along with Desagana Diop if they can possibly figure out a way to, which may involve packaging unborn children with the overpaid big. The point is that they have to continue to move as much salary as possible, and start over. Their 2012 pick goes to the Bulls in the Tyrus Thomas trade. The objective needs to be to recoup a 2012 pick as this draft will likely be light.

It looks bad because they didn’t get great return on Wallace and didn’t move Jackson. But they also had no leverage. They got what they could and most importantly, they actually made a move to start over. It’s past time. At least the Bobcats made the decision to move backwards.

  1. SmackSaw - Feb 26, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    Move this miscalculation to Seattle or K.C.

  2. khandor - Feb 26, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    Matt,

    Contrary to what many other so-called NBA analysts might think about the recent trades made by the Bobcats, IMO, this team has not regressed in the least:

    Before Trades Line-up:

    STARTERS – Augustin [1], Jackson [2], Wallace [3], Diaw [4] and Brown/K [5]
    KEY SUBS – Livingston [6], Henderson [7], Najera [8] and Mohammed [9]
    RESERVES – Carroll [10], Brown/D [11] and McGuire [12]
    EXTRAS/OUTS – Collins [13], Thomas [14] and Diop [15]

    After Trades Line-up:

    STARTERS – Augustin [1], Henderson [2], Jackson [3], Diaw [4] and Przybilla [or Brown/K] [5]
    KEY SUBS – Livingston [6], Carroll or Brown/D [7], Najera [8] and Brown/K or Przybilla [9]
    RESERVES – Brown/D or Carroll [10], McGuire [11] and White [12]
    EXTRAS/OUTS – Collins [13], Thomas [14] and Diop [15] … with Peterson supposedly being bought out

    If Gerald Henderson and Derrick Brown actually get the opportunity to play in the Bobcats regular rotation in a consistent way and the decision is made to retain Przybilla and Tyrus Thomas can regain his health … either, before the end of this season, and certainly in time for next year’s campaign … then, Charlotte has IMPROVED their roster with the 2 trades they made at the deadline, in terms of being able to stay in the playoff battle this spring AND moving forward to next season, considering the draft picks up they were able to add as future assets.

  3. khandor - Feb 26, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    Sorry …

    I originally forgot to include Dante Cunnigham/PF … acquired along with Przybilla in the trade with Portland – in the Bobcats’ current roster. Although Cunningham is not a future star player, he is another highly serviceable player and give Charlotte another solid asset moving forward.

    With a group of talented players now on-board, including:

    i. Youngsters – like DJ Augustin, Gerald Henderson, Derrick Brown, Dante Cunningham, Tyrus Thomas, Shaun Livingston, Domenic McGuire and DJ White;

    ii. Veterans – like Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw, Joel Przybilla, Matt Carroll, Eduardo Najera, Kwame Brown and DeSagana Diop;

    and,

    iii. Several future 1st Round Draft Picks;

    the are plenty of good reasons for Bobcats fans to feel optimistic about the fortunes of this franchise.

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