Let's step back and re-evaluate a bit. Maybe our hopes were too high. Maybe we should have remembered that staying healthy is a skill, just like three point shooting. And maybe we should have expected Gerald to miss at least 10-27 games this year, just like he's done every year with Charlotte.
Aren't the Bobcats really right where we expected them to be with JRich, and Dudley, and Sean May's quickly decaying carcass, and Matt Carroll, and Linton Freaking Johnson III? So this isn't the year everything goes our way. Gerald's lung is essentially healed by now, but if Chris Andersen's fractured rib is any guide, Wallace will be out at least three weeks total. If he makes the fastest possible recovery, he misses 8 games. If he takes more time than that, then he'll miss 10 games and up. Hey! That's exactly the number we should have expected him to miss this year. Good times.
I got a taste of competitive basketball, and now, without Gerald, it feels like something's been stolen from me. From a different perspective, though, one could argue that we'd actually been playing with house money while the Bobcats were better than we'd dreamed before the season.
There are 35 games to go in the regular season, and 20 are on the road. Skimming the schedule, it looks like they're going to win between 10 and 15 more games. If they win 15, that gets 'em to 34 wins on the season, which would be the most they've ever had. 13 more wins gets them to 32, which would be exactly what they got last year. Either way, the odds of a playoffs appearance are extremely long, especially given Gerald's absence for the next few weeks.
The math is unforgiving. We can't give up, though. Let's say they rip off a hot streak when Gerald gets back and win 20 games from here on out. That would give them 39 wins on the year and an outside shot at the 8th seed. Keep in mind, though, that since realignment in 2005, last year's Atlanta Hawks were the only Eastern Conference playoff team without at least 40 wins.
However, with Gerald unlikely to return before the trade deadline, it's probably in our best interest to give up and trade Raymond for whatever we can get that doesn't further hamstring our cap situation over the next few years. Only a few teams need someone like Felton, and I don't see anyone Atlanta, Boston, or Miami could offer that Charlotte would find particularly valuable, other than Zaza Pachulia and a draft pick.
Give it ten more games. If we win four of them, we've still got a chance. Three or fewer wins, though, and we may as well pack it in and plan for the future.