With the draft over and done with, two quality forwards picked up, both of whom are good enough defensively to play at the 2 or 3 (and in MKG's case, even the 4 in certain circumstances), and the addition of Ben Gordon
, it's time to start assessing our needs in free agency. It's a safe bet that, with the addition of Gordon, we are not resigning DJ Augustin. DJ White will probably also not resign. It's also a safe bet that Matt Carroll
and DeSagana Diop
will not excersize their player options and remain with the team. By most accounts, including Yahoo! sports, the Bobcats
will be using their amnesty provision on Tyrus Thomas
, so essentially our 2012-2013 roster currently looks like this:
G - Ben Gordon, Kemba Walker
, Gerald Henderson
, Reggie Williams
and Matt Carroll
F - Michael Gilchrest, Jeffrey Taylor
C - Bismack Biyombo
, Byron Mullens
, DeSagana Diop
With the versatility of Gordon and Williams, the shooting guard position is etched in stone, with Gerald Henderson starting. Clearly our most pressing need immediately is the FC position. MKG will be counted on to start from day one, with Taylor as his backup, and Reggie Williams playing the flex position. Bismack Biyombo is certainly going to be playing the Center position, because he struggled more against PF's last season. Byron Mullens played the PF better at the end of the season, most improving defensively. However, he is still not ready to start. For that matter, neither really is Bismack Biyombo. So our priorities become signing a starting power foward, a center who is good enough to start, and a veteran PG who can come in an start on a one or two year deal, giving Kemba Walker the time he needs to develop.
I would like to see us go after, in order of preference:
Mareese Speights - RFA
Antawn Jamison - UFA.
As a C option, we should target:
Javale McGhee - RFA
Hamed Haddidi - UFA
Brooke Lopez - RFA
And for the vet PG, we should target:
Kirk Heinrich - UFA
Realistically, we have about 18 million to spend on three players to stay right about where we were last season. Players like Bass, Hibbert and McGhee are going to command large, long contracts. However, it's not out of the realm of possibility that we could sign one marquee player from each of these lists and still be comfortable. Hibbert is almost certainly due a max contract, but the most he can make is 15 million since he doesn't qualify for the Rose exception. Javale McGhee will probably earn around 10 million a year. Heinrich, Kidd, Miller, Jamison and Williams are probably all looking for MLE type contracts.
In an ideal world, since Hibbert is only a pipedream as Indiana is almost certain to resign him, I think we should sign: Beasley, Heinrich and McGhee, using the MLE in Heinrich to go over the cap but stay under the luxury tax.
Most probably, we'll only manage two of the players on my list, signing Jamison and Andre Miller, and signing some no name or aged center.
Still, though, given our young core of talent, I like where the Bobcats are headed, ESPECIALLY if Kemba Walker shows more development after a real offseason.