This is absolutely fantastic news all the way around. Sean Deveney of SportingNews.com* reports Raymond Felton will sign the Bobcats' one year qualifying offer of $5.5 million. While Felton probably would have preferred the security of a long term deal, he simply couldn't expect one at this time, with a shrinking salary cap and zero demand for someone of his talent level.
The Official Roommate of Rufus on Fire has long insisted that this is actually the best possible outcome for Felton, based on the idea that he was lucky to get a QO in the first place with D.J. Augustin around, and because there was something of a glut of borderline backup/starter "scoring" PGs on the market, with Nate Robinson and Ramon Sessions, let alone the drafted players like Tyreke Evans, Jeff Teague, and Brandon Jennings. Next season, depending on how the draft shakes out, with guys like John Wall out there, Robinson and Felton may feel better about signing one year deals this year and becoming the second or third option for the teams that lose out on the LeBron James, Chris Bosh, et cetera, superstars.
What does this mean for the Bobcats moving forward?
Here's hoping that Felton backs up Augustin by default going into the season. The team may believe that Felton gives them a better chance to compete now, but, again, even if the Cats play up to their absolute ceiling this year, I'm afraid we're looking at a team still a full notch below title contention. Developing Augustin, giving him the chance to play and keep improving, furthers that larger goal more than making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history does.
However, even if Felton plays the majority of PG minutes this year, we can be reasonably assured that Augustin will take over for good next season. The one year deal saves the Cats from themselves; there should no longer be any kind of institutional pressure to make Felton a long term fixture in the lineup at the expense of the younger, cheaper, probably better, Augustin.
UPDATE: Ziller weighs in at FanHouse.
(*Reminder/disclosure: SN is my employer.)