There is an ongoing culture war in Charlotte Bobcats land. It's not exactly on par with whether or not you think the CATS Light Rail is a good idea, or whether you believe North Carolina should ban smoking in restaurants, but it's pretty close.
1 -- Do you believe Raymond Felton is worth keeping on the roster?
2 -- How much should the Bobcats be willing to pay him?
We each have answers to these questions, and the team, apparently, has its answers, extending a Qualifying Offer and beginning extension negotiations. While Bobcats Baseline has started the Andre Miller drumbeat, I think they also overestimate Felton's value on the open market. Among those of us who aren't emotionally attached to the Tar Heels, I think it's fair to say he's usually regarded as a reasonable point guard option, but with the caveat that his team will always believe there's a better option around the corner. You can also look at all the PGs and their salaries on Storyteller's site, and try to divine how NBA teams will value him based on how they've valued all the others.
I'm long on record believing that the team is best off simply letting Felton go. My second choice would be to swallow the QO price and keep him on board for one more season as Augustin insurance. And my distant third choice would be to sign him to a long term extension, even if the reasoning is that we could trade him for more value than we'd get in free agency or the draft.
I've answered the first question with in the negative, and I know plenty of Bobcats fans would answer in the affirmative. Either way, we're both banking on a dream. I want to leave plenty of playing time open for Augustin to improve, and if it so happens we can sign someone with cap space, even better. If you want to keep Felton, the dream is that he gets better and we have the happy dilemma of which starting-quality PG to keep and which to trade for different talent.
However, I'm pushed over to my side because the Bobcats just aren't in position to take chances on dreams that cost more money. The team is for sale. Any dream we pursue has the potential to make things worse, but I can't get past this notion: If we let Felton go and it doesn't work out with Augustin, that's bad, but we're not out any money we hadn't already committed. If we re-sign Felton and it doesn't work out, that's bad, and we're also out many more millions we could have used elsewhere. And that's before considering that Felton could be a perfectly solid player and represent a bad allocation of funds, since he's not likely to be the difference between making the playoffs and making the lottery.
So, consider this my last stand on the Felton issue. I don't want to leave it hanging out there anymore. Have it out. Is Raymond Felton worth keeping on the Bobcats' roster? Especially given the contracts that have already been signed this offseason and the threat of the NBA's economic collapse?