Bobcats Need To Make A Trade, Need To Make Playoffs
The NBA’s trade deadline is this Thursday, February 20th at 3pm. The Bobcats have made just about one key trade every season since 2007, including two in 2009, although not every exchange has happened around the trade deadline. Charlotte needs to make the playoffs this season but there’s no sense in being the 7th or 8th seed because that just gets you swept by Miami or Indiana. Charlotte is far from guaranteed a spot in the playoffs with their current roster and a trade will likely get them in, and possibly the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bobcats enter post-All-Star break basketball engulfed in trade possibilities and slotted 8th in the Eastern Conference standings.
There were reports earlier this season that connected Charlotte and Rudy Gay, but according to a source, the deal fell through. Now with a Gay in Sacramento, and the Kings showing improvement with him in their line-up, he will not be traded again. Sources also connected the Bobcats and Orlando’s Aaron Afflalo earlier this year. The Bobcats need a shooter and a scorer, who plays shooting guard or small forward, and Afflalo fits the bill. He’s shooting 43% from 3-point land and 46% from the field. The Bobcats are also 27th in FT% and Afflalo is an above-average shooter in that department. Afflalo could immediately become the best all-around shooter on the Bobcats and another 3-point threat. Reports coming out of Orlando say that no one is coming hard after Afflalo just yet and that the Magic aren’t eager to move him either.
In the last couple days, a big name has been connected with the Charlotte Bobcats. The Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell reported that the Bobcats have called the Lakers about trading for big-man Pau Gasol. Bonnell is skeptical about a world with Pau Gasol as a Charlotte Bobcat and so are many other media members. Ben Gordon’s expiring contract would cover the majority of Gasol’s remaining 1-year, $19 million salary but Charlotte would likely have to give up more. A 1st-round pick, likely the one Detroit owes, would be expected in return, and possibly a young asset. Gasol is in his 15th year in the NBA and turns 34 this July so I find it hard to imagine Charlotte would give up that much for the Lakers star.
Evan Turner of the Philadelphia 76ers is another player the Bobcats have been associated with in the last few weeks. Turner can play the 2 or the 3 and is a scorer, who would fit the needs of the Bobcats just like Afflalo. Turner can put the ball in the bucket, although not from the outside like Afflalo can but he still averages 17.5 points per game and shoots 43% from the field. Turner will be expecting a new contract this off-season so he could just be a rental for a possible playoff run, or a future Hornet, depending on how he plays in the minds of the front office.
According to Yahoo! Sports, Charlotte had traction on a deal to bring Milwaukee’s Caron Butler and Gary Neal to town but talks crumbled in recent days. In Neal’s first two NBA seasons, he shot over 40% from 3-point land for the Spurs but this year, his first in Milwaukee, he’s shooting the worst percentage from the field in his career (39%). Caron Butler, who has only played in 32 games this season for the Bucks, does have a contract that expires after this season.
Charlotte played the Pistons last night in Detroit and face off with them again tonight in Charlotte but Detroit’s Greg Monroe has been discussed in trades as they prepare to hand the keys to their frontcourt to Andre Drummond. Could the Bobcats acquire Monroe? Possibly, but they probably won’t. Charlotte would likely have to give back the pick Detroit owes them, Portland’s pick, and likely a few other assets to acquire Monroe.
The Bobcats have a few commodities to trade, namely the pick Detroit owes them and the pick Portland owes them. In my mind, everyone on this team is expendable besides Kemba, Al Jefferson, Jeffery Taylor, MKG, and rookie Cody Zeller. I could be talked into deals for MKG, Taylor, and even Kemba if the return was good enough. I wouldn’t be comfortable giving away Taylor but as I said, I could be talked into it, although even if Charlotte did want to trade him, his injury would likely undermine the trade. I think it’s still too early to give up on MKG and especially Zeller. Michael Kidd-Gilcrhist’s name has been floated around on several different occasions in trade talk according to reports but I believe his performance has been vital to the improvement in Charlotte. Since Kidd-Gilchrist has returned from his hand injury, the Bobcats have had a winning record of 9-7 and their defense has been stellar, that isn’t a coincidence.
The Bobcats need to make the playoffs for the sheer experience. Making the playoffs would obviously be great for the organization on the business side, which is already on a tear selling tickets and merchandise. When a team makes the playoffs, they carry themselves differently, think about themselves differently, and are perceived differently by everyone else, and that is something Charlotte needs. Steph Curry said just getting to the playoffs last summer changed them as a team. He said they didn’t even need to beat Denver last summer to gain this new mentality, but they did, and that experience has been phenomenal for their development.
If the Bobcats pick 1-10, they don’t have to give their pick to the Bulls. If Detroit picks 9-30, it’s the Bobcats’ pick, and if the Blazers pick 13-30, it’s the Bobcats’ pick. It is likely the Bobcats will only get the pick Portland owes them, which means they will only pick in the late 20s of this June’s NBA Draft. Since the draft for Charlotte has been far from reliable, I believe they should use these picks to gain an asset(s) before Thursday’s trade deadline. The trouble seems to be that the sellers in the trade market right now sound unrealistic on what they want in return, hopes are that their tune changes in the next 24 hours or so. Charlotte’s President of Basketball Operations, Rod Higgins, said that the Bobcats would be “shaking the tree,” to seek out and do their due diligence on any possible trades. No player on this roster has ever appeared in the playoffs as a Charlotte Bobcat and that needs to change heading into next season.