Where Might the Bobcats Trade Felton? Western Conference

Yesterday, I went over possible suitors for Raymond Felton's services in the Eastern Conference. Today, we'll take a look at Western Conference teams in need of a point guard of Felton's caliber.

Unfortunately for the Bobcats, two teams I'd planned on addressing look like they've already answered their point guard questions for the foreseeable future. The Los Angeles Clippers have reached a verbal agreement with Baron Davis, and the Sacramento Kings will re-sign Beno Udrih. These agreements highlight the most difficult aspect of any Felton trade: I think NBA teams won't want to pay more than he's getting now in order to give him his shot, because if they're going to pay more they'd rather go all out on a top tier guy or give the job to a dude already on the roster. At the same time, they realize that at the shallow end of the PG pool, they can turn to the likes of Chris Duhon as a stopgap, a guy who isn't as good as Felton, but should be significantly cheaper.

Felton occupies that rare zone where his perceived skills and his salary sidle up against each other snugly. There's no perceived inefficiency to capitalize upon. He doesn't make enough money to be considered a bad contract, so there's no way to exchange another bad contract for his, but he's also expensive enough that I'm sure the remaining teams looking for a point will either turn in-house to the players on hand (Udrih), or go to free agency for bargain bin options that will produce reasonably close to Felton (Duhon, Boykins, et al)--if their stats aren't in Felton's neighborhood, at least they'll be in his area code, for far less money.

On to the Western Conference teams in need of a point guard. Again, my tools are player salaries on HoopsHype and the RealGM Trade Checker.

Denver Nuggets
Allen Iverson isn't really a 1, and neither Chucky Atkins nor Anthony Carter are medium-term answers at the position. In a world where the best defensive big man in the game, Marcus Camby, and two elite scorers, AI and 'Melo, get the eight seed followed by an early exit and spring tee times, a real upgrade at point guard could yield big gains, and Felton would be an improvement on the dudes they threw out there this season.

Of course, there's the little problem that there are only four players the Cats would consider taking back in trade. One makes far too little money for a one for one trade to work, and the other three make far too much.

Linas Kleiza emerged last year as a source of instant offense off the bench. Shoots threes, runs the floor, pumps up the crowd. He's on the small side for the 4, but still works hard under the basket. He makes way too little money for the Nuggets to trade him straight up for Felton. If they sign-and-traded him for approximately Felton's salary, I'd be on board, but I also suspect that if other teams find out the Nuggets are willing to trade Kleiza for Felton, they'll swoop in with more attractive offers. Chauncey Billups has already been named as a possible trade target of the Nugs. The Lakers might be willing to part with either Derek Fisher or Jordan Farmar in exchange for a power forward who can shoot from the perimeter.

Allen Iverson has only one year remaining on his deal, and he'll make so much money that any trade for him would pretty much gut the Bobcats' roster, and Denver still wouldn't feel like they're getting equal value back for him. Charlotte could make a lateral move and attempt to trade JRich, Felton, and a little less trash, but, again, would Denver really think they're getting good value for this? And what the hell kind of defense would an Augustin/Iverson backcourt play?

Marcus Camby is the rich man's Emeka Okafor. He does everything on defense a little bit better, and everything on offense just a little bit better. There's also no reasonable way to trade for him. What? You think they'll take Mohammed, May, and Felton? Please.

Carmelo Anthony makes a lot of money to start. He's a BYC player, and he has a trade kicker. Even offering JRich and G-G-G-G-Gerald won't get it done.

And that's it. Seattle just drafted Russell Westbrook. Dallas is still tied to Kidd and Terry. Golden State will likely let Monta Ellis run the offense. Minnesota is still hitched to the Randy Foye wagon. Phoenix will need a point guard of the future, but that future will be after Felton's current deal expires.

It appears Charlotte's best course of action is to quash all trade rumors and go into the season with Felton as the starter at point. They should commit to giving Augustin 15-20 minutes per night, which means putting both of them on the floor at times. As much as I'd like to see Augustin succeed, it'd also be in the team's best interest to see Felton prove beyond a shadow of doubt over the next season that he's the better option at point guard moving forward.

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