Evening all. Hope everyone is having a wonderful day. Haven't been around the site too much lately because I guess I'm still a little devastated from the Gerald Wallace trade (as is he). There was also a slight shift in my schedule so I've only been able to catch bits and pieces of the team sans Crash, and the box scores haven't been too pretty. However, at this point, I can't really say that it bothers me much. Since it's been a while, I plan on using this post to talk about quite a few things and hope that I can keep your attention for a few minutes. Among the topics of discussion will be my thoughts on the Wallace and Nazr Mohammed trades, Gerald Henderson 's new role in the starting line-up, Jordan's strategy from the outside looking in on building a championship contending team, and of course, the playoff chase.I'd like to start this thread by examining the two trades that the Charlotte Bobcats made on deadline day and give my exact thoughts on them..........
Yes, I admit it, I actually approve of this trade. Although I was one of the biggest supporters of the "Keep Gerald Wallace" movement, you have to know when to strike a deal, and apparently, that "when" was 7 minutes before the deadline. With this trade the team accomplishes every goal a rebuilding team could wish for. We rid ourselves of Gerald's salary (though it wasn't that outrageous compared to his production), acquire 2 first round draft picks, a serviceable big man on an expiring contract to help us remain somewhat competitive through the rest of the year, and a young prospect who has the potential to blossom into something a lot better (much how Wallace was when we picked him up from Sacramento in the expansion draft). A few people had felt that Wallace's value had decreased enough for it to be just a straight up Pryzbilla and Cunningham for Wallace trade and approved. However, I was always fairly certain that Crash' value didn't depreciate nearly as much as some of the offers that were made had us believing. Apparently, M.J. was certain of it too, ignoring all of the low ball offers made by other teams and basically giving us a package similar to what Deron Williams and Carmelo Anthony netted their former teams, just on a smaller scale. Meanwhile, the Queen City has to say goodbye to a man that had gone from bench warmer to All-Star to becoming the face of our franchise. However, that fact becomes much easier to digest when you consider that Wallace, not yet at least, hasn't started for the Blazers and may never crack their starting lineup at SF (considering the Blazers refused to part with Batum for Melo himself). There may be a small situation in Portland brewing as Crash has already let it be known to Nate McMillan he isn't there to be a 6th man, but let's hope Gerald remains as classy as he did throughout his 7 years in Charlotte because LORD knows the classiness of the Blazers fans that have visited the site in the past few weeks have me wishing nothing but the best for their franchise.
This move here demonstrates that Jordan has a plan set in motion and I like that. He knew that we would be acquiring another center from the Portland trade who could come in and duplicate a lot of the things that Nazr was doing. So, instead of having an overload on centers on the team, he makes a deal to give a contending team a veteran for a playoff push, while not taking on more salary but getting a young prospect out of the trade to fulfill a team need. White, in his limited time in Charlotte thus far, has been fairly impressive and looks as though he can hold down a backup PF spot for the franchise at a low salary. Peterson was basically just a throw in to make the salaries match on the last year of his deal, so no harm was done there. Jordan is making moves that actually make sense and adhere to one specific goal. Let's see how long he sticks with it.
The addition by subtraction move of the day undoubtedly goes to the playing time the Portland trade creates for Gerald Henderson. Although I think at this stage in his career he is better suited for the sixth man role we had him in, the rest of the season will give us a chance to see how good he truly is and if he can be a cornerstone player for the franchise. I actually think Hendo has star talent and could become a player in the mold of a poor man's Kobe. I mean, he kinda already is. Think about it. He's super athletic, a lock down defender, has an average but adequate outside shot, a deadly mid-range jumper, and plays the game with a confidence level that a lot of players are afraid to reach. Add in the fact that they both chose Duke as their college (but Kobe didn't go) and they were both selected by Charlotte in the lottery and the comparison's continue to run deeper. But I'll ease up on that for now. All I am saying though is don't be surprised if Hendo turns into a star. Athletic wings who can average 20 points per game on border line playoff teams and play lock down defense turn into household names all the time. Give me a good reason why Hendo can't be one. He's going to have to do better than he's done in his starts thus far, but I think he's going to surprise a lot of people.
The Push For The Playoffs
It almost feels like a burden was lifted off of our shoulders by trading Crash. Now, the pressure of having to make the playoffs to justify our roster is no longer there. This "rebuilding" that everyone has been wanting for so long is here, and for those that were at the front of the line wanting Crash gone, I hope you're here to see the downfall of the team and the impact that Crash really had, which could never be measured in pure statistics. Luckily for those wanting to get back in the playoffs though, the Indiana Pacers are starting to fall off (as I predicted) and keep giving us hope of sneaking in. At this point though, honestly, I don't care. We're in a win win situation. The worse that we do, the higher our lottery pick will be. We do good, and we still have shot at the playoffs. How many of you are still hoping for the playoffs though? If we do get in, we'll undoubtedly be a number 8 seed going up against a number 1, only to probably lose all four first round games and move us towards the bottom of the lottery. The question here really is "Will the experience that comes with playing in the playoffs have a better effect on our player/franchise mentality long term compared to the question is it better to just move up in the draft?" It's risky either way. With no franchise type players in the draft (not that we can see yet anyway), it may be best to just aim for the playoffs and hope D.J., Tyrus, and Hendo can use their experience to grow as the Bulls did last year. Plus, let's not forget Tyrus Thomas will be returning along with Stephen Jackson very soon. I know it seems like a lost cause, but it's not. Not yet at least.
These Are Michael Jordan's Bobcats
Over the past 2 seasons, Bobcats fans have watched as every bit of their short history has been traded or changed in some way. No longer are we the "Play the Right Way" Cats. No longer do we have our first ever draft pick, Emeka Okafor. No longer is the UNC product Raymond Felton the head of our team. No longer is Gerald Wallace the face of our franchise. These are Jordan's Cats, and he is going to do what he wants with them to build what he thinks is a championship contender, regardless of the emotions of the fans. I applaud Jordan's strategy, but am a little worried that his desire for a constant roster turnover will never lead to a stabilizing product. M.J. has a history of being a gambler, and some of those traits are carrying over into the War Room of the NBA. He's not interested in anything but getting maximum value out of each piece that we have, and I think that's primarily the reason Crash was the one that had to go. Moving forward, I think Henderson, Tyrus and D.J. will be given every chance to succeed, with Cunningham, Livingston, D.J. White, and Kwame Brown being capable backups that teams need to keep around on those short, cheap contracts. As for everyone else, I really think their time in Charlotte will be coming to an end very soon, including Stephen Jackson 's. Judging by the moves we've made in the past, I can pretty much guarantee Boris will be gone by the deadline next year if not much sooner, and Jax could be dealt at the same time. It'll take years to see if Jordan has the right plan, so in the meantime, a few things we should be paying attention to.
Charlotte (26-38) Will 32 wins be enough to get in the playoffs? Maybe. But that would be just sad.
Indiana (27-37) With a big loss to the Wolves last night, the Pacers don't seem to be anxious to take the final spot in the east.
Milwaukee (25-38) The Bucks are creeping back into the playoff picture.
New Orleans (38-29), let's hope Nawlins', who are currently 7th in the West, to fade while Houston or Phoenix picks it up. If we and the Hornets both miss the playoffs, that's two lottery picks.
NBA Draft.net is currently projecting us to take Jimmer Fredette with the #10 overall pick.