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Don't Trade Gerald -- Heat Game Tonight

"Judging from all the chatter in their locker room, the Timberwolves are convinced that Gerald Wallace will be coming on board from Charlotte, with Rashard McCants and Jason Collins heading to the Bobcats."
-- Mitch Lawrence, New York Daily News


Not this again. Dude. Seriously. Stop the insanity. We're not going to get anyone better than Gerald via free agency, let alone anyone signed to as reasonable a deal as he has, and we certainly don't have anyone already on board that we have to re-sign with that saved money, so there's no point in trading G-Force away right now. The best use of Gerald's contract is to get him to play like he's always played.

Contrast that to Jason Richardson and his joke of a contract. For reference, here's a short list of more valuable players who make less money than he does: Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Chauncey Billups, Josh Smith, Andris Biedrins, Monta Ellis, Marcus Camby, Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, and I'm only at the LA Clippers and have only included players roughly in his price range, ignoring players with exceedingly low contracts. Oh, okay, let's add Manu Ginobili to the list, for sheer comic effect.

The point, of course, is that while JRich is a pretty good player, better than the average swingman, he's probably the third-best player on his own team (after the same thing happened on the Warriors), and he's horrifically overpaid. I know housing analogies are a sensitive subject these days, but it's like owning a house with a $400,000 mortgage that'd fetch only $300,000 on the open market. By keeping Richardson around, yeah, you're living in a pretty nice house that serves a lot of needs, but you're overpaying such that you can't do much of anything else useful with your money, and if you do try to sell your house, you'll need to find a sucker to shoulder that equity gap.

If this season is defined by how MJ and LB handle their players' contracts, trading Wallace and choosing to keep Richardson, instead of keeping both, or trading JRich, would demonstrate near complete incompetence, barring some breathtakingly dumb move by another GM. Say, giving us Chris Kaman and a draft pick in return. In which case, it would be merely baffling, and not grounds for dismissal.

Jason is getting paid too much for his production. Emeka is probably being paid a little too much for his production, but it might also be a little less than his play is worth. And Gerald is underpaid. This isn't that difficult, people.

===

Tonight, the Bobcats go to Miami to take on the Heat minus Gerald, who's still away to be with his family following his grandmother's passing. Without him, a lot of defensive responsibility falls to Jared Dudley and Sean May, who will have to guard Shawn Marion and Michael Beasley. Good times.

Some quick thoughts:

-- Point guard Mario Chalmers is, as of now, right up there with Mike Taylor and Luc Mbah a Moute among the steals of this year's draft.

-- Beasley has been relegated to coming off the bench, but he's still getting decent minutes. I can't imagine Joel Anthony is the solution to any particular problem.

-- In the home opener for the Cats, Dwyane Wade was held in check and Shawn Marion never got going. Without Gerald, it'll be tough to replicate that performance, but the Bobcats can still work Wade hard by running right at him with any of their guards.

-- I'm working on a song based around Akon's "Right Now". Trust me: It will be simultaneously awful and dope.