There's an enlightening term that every sports fan seems to understand, even if he or she hasn't heard the term before. That term is "sunk cost"
Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer does not appear to understand what a sunk cost is, as he argues
that because the Bobcats have so much money tied up in guaranteed contracts, they can't afford to cut anyone. The thing is, as sunk costs, the Cats spent that money the instant the guaranteed contracts were signed, and decisions shouldn't be based on whether or not future money owed Adam Morrison, or whomever, is "wasted".
I'll pick on Morrison because, preseason performance notwithstanding, it's clear he was in over his head during his rookie season, and his longstanding defensive issues mean that he'll have to be a superb offensive weapon just to be worth keeping around--think about what Daniel Gibson brings to the table.
Let's say, for instance, that the Bobcats saw an available player who could do a lot of things Morrison can't, and is generally just a better player. If the Bobcats had any chance at landing the likes of Michael Pietrus, they should have made an offer. Morrison's guaranteed contract is getting paid no matter what the team does, so they may as well try to get real production for their money.
Let's take a real example of the Cats' refusal to act rationally. Larry Brown keeps making public remarks about the kind of roster he wanted going into the season. A major part of that is Brown's desire to have three point guards. He's got Felton, Augustin, and... guys who aren't really point guards. (My harebrained scheme to make Jared Dudley a point forward applies, but LB ain't gonna have none o' dat.)
Oddly, there were perfectly reasonable backup point guards available for a pittance. Carlos Arroyo signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv
, even though he'd played reasonably well as a backup point in Orlando. If they wanted a scoring presence off the bench, Salim Stoudamire was available until the Spurs gave him a shot, but they've since waived him. Of course, they waived him in large part because they already have Roger Mason, Jr., another free agent combo guard who was out there and has played point. Don't get me started on the many merits of Anthony Carter, who was a free agent this summer. Quality is out there. We don't have to stoop to Dan Dickau levels.
So, who is the team keeping because they don't want to eat the contract? Morrison is the obvious one. I hate that they drafted Alexis Ajinca, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and not agitate for his release just yet. However, everyone under $1 million should be easily expendable. If Jermareo Davidson isn't going to crack the big man rotation, then why can't we pay him to get off the roster and leave an open space to sign Lindsey Hunter at a rock bottom price?
We have virtually no chance of making the playoffs because our team's decision makers didn't understand that the worst thing to do in the NBA is to overpay on a contract over multiple years. They did it on multiple contracts, and it all added up to no flexibility and poor results. Apparently, they also don't understand that they've already paid those bad contracts, so it does little good to defer to them when they're roughly $4 million below the luxury tax threshold
.(UPDATE!!! 10/27 They waived Jermareo.)