It's no secret that the 2013 NBA Draft lacks transcendent, franchise-changing talent. Most teams in the Lottery have made it known that their picks are available -- a rarity in itself -- and yet still, other teams have shown little interest in acquiring a pick in this year's Draft.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were fortunate enough to win the NBA Draft Lottery and have been shopping their pick to what seems like every team in the league. Unfortunately, other teams are disinterested. Maybe the Cavaliers are asking for too much, but our favorite people, "sources", have suggested that teams aren't interested in many players projected to be in the Lottery.
The Charlotte Bobcats hold the fourth overall pick in the Draft, and historically, the fourth pick has been a bit of an enigma. Players drafted at four the last few years include Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, Wesley Johnson and Tyreke Evans. These are players with very high potential, but huge question marks as to whether or not they'll ever reach it.
That trend continues this year, too. Prospects expected to be available at four include Alex Len, Victor Oladipo, Anthony Bennett and possibly one of Otto Porter and Ben McLemore. All of these players are elite at just a few things, and none of them seem like surefire superstars.
This puts the Bobcats in an interesting position. On one hand, they have the high draft pick that they've coveted since last year's Draft. On the other, the pick seems to have little value no matter what is done with it.
Thankfully, Rich Cho is a wizard well-versed in the dark arts and will maximize the pick's value. But how?
Remember that Dwight Howard guy that "played" in Los Angeles? How about Chris Paul? Many teams have positioned themselves to make a run at the free-agents-to-be. The Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Clippers will all be in play for these two players. What does this have to do with the Bobcats?
Many things influence a free agent's decision-making process, but two stand out: money and winning. Everyone wants to be rich and everyone wants to be the best. That's just human.
The Bobcats are in a unique position. They're loaded with expiring contracts -- both this season and next -- and while their fourth pick might not have a ton of value, it will sweeten any pot the Bobcats add it to. Yum.
And two words: Ben Gordon. Who wouldn't want a sweet shooter with a massive contract that expires next year?
If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm suggesting that the Bobcats help another team improve its chances at landing Howard and/or Paul. I'm not going to sugarcoat this. Any trade with any of the aforementioned teams will include a bad contract for the Bobcats to take on. However, it would also probably include some combination of future picks and young players.
And that's what the Bobcats want. Heck, that's what you want and that's what I want, too.
I'm never a fan of taking on bad contracts, but I understand how life works. To gain something, you must make a sacrifice. You must give up something you love or take on something you hate in order to reach your goal. That's just how life works.
The Bobcats have a ton of free cap room, and taking on one bad contract for some more valuable assets sounds like a good trade-off to me.
But here's where things get really interesting. If the Bobcats are active enough in shopping their expiring contracts and draft pick(s), they may be able to play these teams against one another and come out with an even better deal. For example, Diop's a terrible NBA player, but you can't name me a single team that wouldn't welcome taking over $7 million off their books.
Here is a conversation I made up to illustrate my point:
Rich Cho: "Hey Mr. Morey, could I interest you in $7 million in cap room and a high draft pick?"
Daryl Morey: "Wow, that sounds great. Do you want Jeremy Lin?"
Rich Cho: "I'm not against him, but you can do better than that. The Clippers are offering us DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe. They're gonna get Chris Paul AND Dwight Howard."
Daryl Morey: "Oh, gee, I don't know, Rich. How about Lin, Toronto's pick, Chandler Parsons, Thomas Robinson, my house, Paul Wall, and a coupon for a free cone at McDonald's?"
Obviously, none of those scenarios are realistic. Diop's contract can't even be traded. But the point still stands: the Bobcats have what these teams want, and they should exploit it.