As everyone knows, the Charlotte Bobcats have two big trade assets in the expiring contracts of Nazr Mohammed and Tyson Chandler to upgrade the roster over the off-season. Michael Jordan's plans for upgrading the roster are pretty simple, find players signed to long term contracts who have fallen out of favor with their current teams in one way or another who provide an upgrade to the roster. Long sentence right? They also have no problem picking up free agents for the veteran minimum and giving them significant playing time. Anyway, after the jump, I'll go over the top 10 players that I feel the Bobcats may try to make a move for.
With the sweep of the Bobcats to the Orlando Magic, the team's biggest weaknesses came to the forefront. A few things that I think we learned, 1. Raymond Felton is not a starting caliber PG. At least he didn't play like one throughout the whole playoff series and maybe deserves as much individual blame as anyone to why the team was swept. 2. The team is in dire need of a low post scorer. The Bobcats have a very talented defensive front, but all players are offensively challenged. Only Boris Diaw is a true threat offensively, but he hasn't been able to come up with big shots all year. 3. The bench just doesn't have enough spark to it. D.J. Augustin was supposed to be a spark plug for us this year, but didn't come through in the clutch. Larry Hughes did a decent job in the playoffs, but the abysmal offense by the team had me wishing Flip Murray was back. Either way, here are the top 10 players that I feel the Bobcats will look into picking up this off-season.
1. T.J. Ford- Indiana Pacers: Ford would provide insurance for a departed Felton, mainly in a sign and trade. I actually feel like he could possibly be an upgrade at the point. Although his career has been derailed in Indiana by injuries and feuding with coaches, he can still provide an offensive spark the neither of Charlotte's current PGs have been able to provide.
Proposed Deal: Sign and trade Raymond Felton (4 yr. 9.0) for T.J. Ford (1 yr. 8.5)
2. Kirk Hinrich- Chicago Bulls: Hinrich has been out of the Bulls plans for a while but for some reason keeps finding himself on the Chicago roster year after year. The Bulls are in the race this year for a big name free agent and may not be as interested in expiring contracts as they were this year, but may stick to that game plan if they strike out on signing one of their primary targets.
Proposed Deal: Nazr Mohammed (1 yr. 6.83), D.J. Augustin (3 yr. 2.5) for Kirk Hinrich (2 yr 9.0)
3. Ronald Murray- Chicago Bulls: The Bulls pulled off the somewhat unbelievable feat of making the playoffs despite giving up on the season by trading away core pieces to their line-up thanks in part to the scoring that Flip was able to come in and provide. During an interview a few weeks back, Murray talked about how he enjoyed his time in Charlotte and would be open to a return if the team showed interest. Although Larry Hughes did a decent job of filling in during the playoffs and late in the season, I look at Flip as an upgrade.
Proposed Deal: Sign for MLE (1 yr. 1.85)
4. Richard Hamilton- Detroit Pistons: Detroit is going through a youth movement and Hamilton has been on the block for quite a while now. The problem? His contract isn't wanted by any team in the league because it's basically a superstar contract. Although not quite the star he was during the team's championship run a few years back, he's still a very capable shooter that could fill in well as a 6th man in Charlotte and provide a serious boost to the team. I'm sure Detroit would be open to any deals shedding years from their recovery efforts. He also was on the squad that won that title for Larry Brown, which would be a huge factor if coach decides to return for a third year in Charlotte.
Proposed Deal: Tyson Chandler (1yr. 12.75) for Richard Hamilton (3 yr. 12.65)
5. Hedo Turkoglu- Toronto Raptors: Turk was clutch for the Orlando Magic on their way to the championship last year, hitting big shot after big shot and looking like one of the best players in the league. Portland came calling offering him a big contract (that ended up going to Andre Miller) and Turk accepted. Days later, he called the deal off and joined the Raptors. Since then, he's probably been the focal point of the mediocrity that became the Raptors, reportedly out partying during a game night when he was supposed to be out with an injury. He's been a bust thus far, but like Hamilton, would provide a huge boost to the Bobcats bench.
Proposed Deal: Tyson Chandler (1 yr. 12.75) for Hedo Turkoglu (4 yr 9.8) and Marco Belinelli (2 yr 2.38)
6. Kevin Love- Minnesota Timber Wolves: Love finds himself in a peculiar situation in Minny, being a very solid producer yet still more than likely to be deal. The problem? Love, and the team's best player, Al Jefferson, play the same position. Their styles don't really compliment each other the way head coach Kurt Rambis is hoping and the trade of Darko Milicic to the Knicks for Brian Cardinal has shown them that a true defensive center would compliment Jefferson's skills a lot better. He could go as far as to be a starter in Charlotte, over Diaw.
7. Emeka Okafor- New Orleans Hornets: Hey, never say never. Oak could be in for a return to Charlotte. It's really a confusing trade looking at it from one angle. Okafor to Chandler in a lot of people's minds was a downgrade because of Chandler's severely limited offensive ability, but escaping the final years of Oak's contract was the key. We then, only use the free agent money reserved for later years on Stephen Jackson. The only thing I can think of at this point is that Charlotte knew that Chandler's expiring deal would be a big deal this upcoming off-season. With the way things went down for both players last year, I'm sure some fans of the Hornets and Bobcats would be open to a re-swap. Would you?
Proposed Deal: Tyson Chandler (1 yr. 12.75) for Emeka Okafor
8. Rasheed Wallace- Boston Celtics: For whatever reason, the Boston Celtics just haven't worked out the way Danny Ainge anticipated. Although making big moves to acquire Wallace, Nate Robinson, and Michael Finley, the Celtics appear to be getting old pretty quick. They had an impressive series over the Heat and can probably end up upsetting the Cavs, but anything less than a championship is going to probably lead to some rebuilding in Boston. Sheed would be one of the first, along with Ray Allen, to probably find himself on another team. With Kevin Garnett's presence combined with the steady improvement of Glen Davis and Wallace's knack for not getting physical down low and setting up for the three too often, he doesn't figure to be in Boston's plans for too much longer, barring an epic series in the playoffs.
Proposed Deal: Nazr Mohammed (1 yr. 6.83) for Rasheed Wallace (1 yr. 5.85) and sign and trade Sheldon Williams (1 yr. 1.8)
9. Kenny Thomas-Free Agency: Was reportedly in talks with the Bobcats about coming to Charlotte after being bought out by the Sacramento Kings. Instead, Charlotte went with the trade for Tyrus Thomas. Kenny, however, could provide rebounding and a true low post presence that the Bobcats need. None of our players are really inside bangers, with them either being power forwards who like to take outside shots or centers too lanky and clumsy to provide the inside presence the Bobcats need. Thomas, would be a good insurance policy to us not trading for one and he would come for the cheap.
Proposed Deal: Sign to veteran's minimum.
10. Andres Nocioni- Sacramento Kings: Nocioni has voiced his dismay with the Kings management and could be a great player for the Bobcats coming off of the bench, providing steady play and a veteran savvy at the SF spot behind Gerald. Reportedly being headed to Boston around the trade deadline, the Celtics pulled out at the last second not wanting to lock themselves into long term deals for their best shooter. (The deal was reportedly Ray Allen for Kevin Martin (since traded to the Rockets) and Nocioni.
Proposed Deal: Nazr Mohammed (1 yr. 6.83), Alexis Ajincia (1 yr. 1.4) for Andres Nocioni (3 yr. 7.5.) and Jon Brockman (1 yr. 857k)
Honorable Mention: Jason Terry (Dal), Shawn Marion (Dal), Luol Deng (Chi), Brad Miller (Chi) Chris Andersen (Den), Ben Gordon (Det), Jason Maxiell (Det), Charlie Villanueva (Det), Elton Brand (Phi) Monta Ellis (Gsw), Andris Biedrins (Gsw), Corey Maggette (Gsw), Baron Davis (Lac), Luke Walton (Lal), Hasheem Thabeet (Mem), James Jones (Mia), Michael Beasley (Mia), Beno Udrih (Sac), Gilbert Arenas (Was) Chris Paul (Noh), Anderson Varejao (Clc)