Out of all of these "If I were GM of..." columns, this was far and away the one that I was least excited about writing. Top to bottom, there is almost nothing compelling about the Charlotte Bobcats. This is the most boring team in the league. I would consider myself and my co-blogger BockerKnocker in the top 10% of NBA fans. I don't think either of us could have named 7 Bobcats off the top of our heads.
Nothing really works on this team, from their young players to their old vets, the name of their team, their team colors, their coach, their playing style, their lack of offense and slow, plodding pace of their defense. In fact, the only really compelling thing about this team is their owner. And yes, this the same owner that used up two top three picks on Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison, when Pau Gasol, Jason Richardson and Brandon Roy were all there to be had. Solid work MJ.
Apparently Mike doesn't want to spend money right now and proclaims that he'll spend money when the time is right. As such, I'll operate on a shoestring budget, and assuming that guys like Jason Richardson, Nene Hilario and Jamal Crawford are all out of their price range.
Boris Diaw: 9 million
Stephen Jackson: 9.2 million
Tyrus Thomas: 7.3 million
DeSagana Diop: 6.9 million
Matt Carroll: 3.9 million
Shaun Livingston: 3.5 million
Eduardo Najera: 2.6 million
DJ Augustin: 3.23 million
Gerald Henderson: 2.23 million
DJ White: 2 million
Total: 49 million
Joel Przybilla: 7.4 million
Morris Peterson: 6.64 million
Sean Marks: 1.2 million
Kwame Brown: 1.2 million
Dominic McGuire: 885,000
Dante Cunningham: 762,000
Some other deadbeats: 1 million
Total: 19 million
1). With the 9th pick in the 2011 NBA draft, the Charlotte Bobcats select Jimmer Fredette, from Brigham Young University
This is how, as a GM, I would operate the Bobcats. This is a franchise that's going down the tubes. The attendance is dwindling, the games are hardly watched on TV and the only reason they seem to be around is that Michael owns them. I'm going to take risks and get players with high upside. I would need to do things to jolt the fanbase and bring some electricity to the franchise. Any signs of life will do.
A lot of people have them taking a Marcus Morris at this spot, but I'm taking JIMMER. I can understand how MJ would be reluctant to go with a high-scoring college guard with defensive deficiencies (see Morrison, Adam), but again, I'm doing things to get the pulses moving in Charlotte. Jimmer will sell some tickets, a few jerseys and will definitely give the Bobcats a couple 30 point games.
2). Trade Boris Diaw immediately
A lot of the reason why this franchise really hasn't gone anywhere is because they really have selected very poorly with the high lottery picks they've been given and haven't gotten lucky with the later lottery picks they always seem to end up with. In their short history, the Bobcats have had 10 first round draft picks. Only 3 times have those picks been higher than 8. Those 3 picks were Emeka Okafor at 2 (and then gave him an unwieldly contract extension), Raymond Felton at 5 (didn't keep him, though they should have for the money that the Knicks spent) and Adam Morrison, at 3 (no explanation necessary). Thus, a lot of the reasons why they haven't been able to get any dynamic stars. They're too good to bottom out.
Well NO MORE. If I am GM of the Bobcats, and this team is losing money hand over first, I'm going to bottom the hell out. I am selling all of our pieces for picks and trying to get that number one next season. This team unfortunately hit its ceiling with a first round sweep at the hands of the Magic last season. Boris Diaw is just the first domino to go. I'd try to peddle him, his skills and his 9 million dollar expiring contract onto a team like San Antonio, Atlanta, Denver, Boston, Indiana or Chicago - all have needs for big bodies that can pass AND rebound.
3). Hold out on trading Stephen Jackson until you get something crazy in return
Jackson is obviously not in their plans going forward . He's 33 years old, and has 2 years and 19 million left on his contract. He's a little crazy and easily has the DUMBEST tattoo in professional sports on him But...he's a triple double threat almost every night, has no fear in the clutch and by all accounts, despite his insanity, is a great teammate. The guy once said "I make love to pressure". He's magic. Having him team with a guy like Ron Artest, Kevin Garnett or Joakim Noah would be the best unintentional comedy since Joey Buss made this speech.
I'm holding on to this guy until midseason, when his deal becomes a little more palatable for teams to take. I'd let him know that we weren't going to keep him, and that he should play well enough to get onto a contending team. I think he'll go for it.
4). Make the coach give Matt Carroll a lot of burn and make sure he does one thing, and one thing well
And that's shoot a lot of three-pointers. Carroll has a decent contract that only has two years left. He's a great shooter when he gets the minutes, something that no shortage of teams are missing right now. He looks like he was born to be on the Indiana Pacers. Obviously. Like S-Jax, I'd wait to deal him mid-season.
5). Get some big bodies with upside
If everyone gets dealt that I think should be dealt, they'll be left with Jimmer, Gerald Henderson, Diop , Tyrus, Livingston, DJ Augustin, Najera and DJ White (who is somehow getting paid 2 million dollars? Who the hell is DJ White? Seriously!). I think that Jimmer, Henderson, Livingston and Augustin is a nice little 4 man guard corp. Aside what they'd get back in trades, the team obviously will need some big guys going forward.
I'd expect them to draft a big with the 40th overall pick. But more importantly, I'm extending free agent offers to upside guys like Jonas Jerebko (coming off a big achilles injury), Hamed Haddadi, Spencer Hawes and Joey Dorsey. Not exactly premier rotation guys, but I think their skill level and type of game fit exactly with the electrifying team they're going to.
With the selection of Jimmer, the couple guys they already have and whatever they get from the mid-season fire-sale I'd recommend, the Bobs should be in a good place to contend in a couple years. They won't be the best team you'll ever see, but hopefully with some new blood and guys playing for a trade or a contract, they'll be a little more exciting this year or the next.