How to Resolve the Sean May Question

We're hitting Charlotte's weather sweet spot right now. I have no fear of a 37 degree morning or a 97 degree afternoon. When I jog along the Sugar Creek greenway, even the fish are smiling.

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Rick Bonnell is thinking about the Sean May question. Now that the season is over and we have a little emotional distance, it should be easier to address the situation rationally. Here are the key passages in Bonnell's piece:

Based on what Brown and May said, managing partner Jordan is concerned about giving up on May just as he becomes healthy and fit enough to offer some return on being drafted 13th overall in 2005.

[snip]

A friend of mine, who's worked for over a decade for another front office, says teams typically over-value their own players. That's natural, the guy said, because you've invested in their development and don't want a competitor benefiting from your investment.

There's some faulty logic in play here. First, and I can't stress this enough: What Sean May did over the past two years only has bearing on projecting his performance, not on whether or not the team "has to get something out of him". Those years are over. We don't have wins coming back to us because we didn't get them two years ago, like a goverment tax refund. What only matters is what we think May will produce over the course of whatever contract we might be able to work out with him.

This happens all the time. We all have that buddy who's been in a relationship with a girl for five, six, or maybe even ten years, yet she horribly mistreats him. Calls him names. Insults his self worth. Makes him feel miserable. She's been doing it for the past three years, and he's seriously depressed. Thing is, he won't leave her because then, he thinks to himself, that would mean he's wasted the past ten years.

NO! No matter what your buddy does, those past ten years aren't coming back to him. He has to look forward, as difficult as that may be, and decide if he can make his relationship work. If he can't see the way, and kids aren't involved, then he's got to move on. Those first seven years do mean something in terms of experience and changing his personality, for better or worse, and sure, they were fun, but the three most recent years count a lot, too, and if he projects a miserable life for himself by staying with her, what's the point of sticking with it?

Sean May, given health and playing time, could be a perfectly useful backup for the Bobcats over the next couple seasons. However, he's going to command a salary we probably shouldn't be paying for someone of his quality. In a vaccuum, he's shown enough skill that the 3-4 million dollars he'll get would be well worth spending to see if he can translate that into quality production.

However, the Cats' five starters are set. Diop is essentially unmoveable. VladRad does what May does, and he's likely not going anywhere. May can't play guard, so there's a rotation spot unavailable to him. There's one more rotation spot, the Juwan Howard role, if you will, that May could occupy. But if we're paying $6.5 million to Nazr Mohammed, $6.0 million to Diop, and $6.5 million to VladRad, it makes it that much more difficult to justify paying $4.0 million to May. And that's before considering whether or not we're going to invest an active roster spot on Freedom Fries. Instead, we'd likely be far better off taking our chances on a D-League breakout candidate like Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Rod Benson, or Richard Hendrix. Or bring back Ryan Hollins to soak up those minutes.

If the team really is looking at $35 million losses each of the next two seasons, just because of the bad economy, then the practical thing to do is not spend big money on end of the bench talent, and instead cycle through the freely available talent until you find gold. That's before considering the minimum-salary retreads available for the role, including Darius Miles (I'm very intrigued), Stromile Swift, Robert Swift, Channing Frye... hell, even Shavlik Randolph is worth a look if he's gonna get less than a million bucks.

In sum, Sean May might be a decent player, but unless we think we can trade him for assets more useful to us, we ought to let hiim start over on someone else's dime.

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