The revamping of the front office, and Bobcats' salary situation solved multiple purposes. The first was obvious, get cheaper, but beyond this there are ancillary reasons why it behooves a small-market team to stay close to the salary floor, and bide their time. While it's fun to see the organization linked to the league's top free agents, and hear rumors of max-level contracts being bandied about, it's also just as vital for Charlotte to explore options as a trade facilitator, and right now there's no bigger trade to facilitate than getting Dwight Howard to Brooklyn.
Recent reports claim that whatever insane machination of a Brooklyn/Orlando/Cleveland deal is now dead in the water. The Cavaliers appeared willing to take on Kris Humphries on a sign-and-trade with a 1-year deal, but it appears Humphries wasn't fan of being a trade chip, as his camp have stated he's looking for a 4-year contract if he's going to play ball to get a trade done. In turn, Cleveland balked at the idea of adding a four year commitment to their front court during a rebuilding process.
Enter the Charlotte Bobcats, who have the cap room to facilitate a trade, and a need at PF that Humphries could conceivablyfill. After the jump we'll look at the pros and cons of working with the Magic and Nets, and see if it makes sense for Rich Cho to play mediator.
Talent wise there's no doubt Humphries would help the Cats. Starting 62 games last year he averaged 13.8 pts and 11.0 reb, while scoring at an efficient 0.481%. It's here that the Bobcats front office would need to have a very good bead on where Antawn Jamison's head is at. Should Jamison be leaning towards looking for a ring, it would very likely benefit the organization to go this route, rather than sign the veteran power foward, or pursue J.J. Hickson, who would likely command far more money than Humphries.
The biggest stumbling block to playing facilitator is understanding what Humphries would sign for. In 2011-12 he made $8 million, which would likely be too rich for Charlotte's blood. However, if he's seeking long-term security over money, a deal in the $6-$7 million range could be right in the Bobcats' wheelhouse, especially if they amnesty Tyrus Thomas. This would likely be a fair deal for a 27 year old PF who is a nice 3rd or 4th option, but who doesn't have the upside or star-power to command a bigger figure.
In many ways Humphries and Thomas could be inexorably linked through a possible facilitation as you're ostensibly getting a more productive version of Thomas, and potentially landing a 1st round pick as the 'thanks for helping' sweetner that could ameliorate the sting that eventually Chicago is getting Charlotte's 1st round pick given up in the original Tyrus Thomas trade.
Obviously a potential three-way trade could get far crazier if Charlotte was willing to add players. There were rumors two years ago that the Nets had interest in D.J. Augustin around the trade deadline, and perhaps he could be added in another sign-and-trade. Ultimately, that's all speculation for the time being, and all we can go on is what's reportedly being offered:
1. Take on Humphries and you get a 1st round pick as compensation
2. Humphries wants a 4-year deal
Given these two conditions would you like the Bobcats to play facilitator?