By Josh Redetzke
Charlotte Bobcats Payroll: $39.8 million
2008/09 Estimated NBA Salary Cap: $58 million (estimate)
Roughly: $18.2 million under cap
of Matt Carroll’s deal not known, used contract average of
$4.5 million for his cap number)
Re-signing Gerald Wallace was one of the Bobcat’s
top priorities last summer and they did it for a very affordable
price. After signing his six-year, $56 million contract extension,
Wallace returned the favor by setting career highs with 19.4 points
per game and 3.5 assists and his 2.1 steals were good for fifth
in the league. If you still don’t think he was worth the money,
consider that his stats were nearly the same as teammate Jason Richardson,
yet Richardson will make $4 million more per season. Wallace is
an excellent player to keep around at that price, especially if
he can overcome the nagging injuries that have eaten chunks of his
Another good player to keep around was shooting extraordinaire Matt
Carroll. As a role player, Carroll shot a blistering 43.6% from
downtown. He doesn’t do much else on the basketball court,
but he doesn’t have to. Carroll is paid to shoot bombs and
that’s it. The Bobcats hope he will be a key complimentary
player down the road. What’s great for Charlotte is that he
is paid like a role player and not a starter. Carroll just finished
the first year of a six-year, $29 million dollar contract. It shouldn’t
be difficult for him to earn it.
There was much rejoicing when the season ended and Emeka Okafor
had played the full 82 games without injury. The Bobcat’s
best big man averaged a double-double in each of his four years
in the league, but he hadn’t shown he could be a durable player
until now. With that encouraging sign and his usual 13 and 10 with
1.7 blocks per game, Okafor looks like he might be worth a long-term
contract extension, which he is due this summer. Even with the larger
contracts Charlotte has accumulated, they still have plenty of room
to sign him. As long as they don’t go overboard on the price,
Okafor should be a force on the Bobcat’s frontline for many
years. Fans should pray that his injury history is behind him.
It’s safe to say that Adam Morrison has been
a complete bust. After a sketchy and underwhelming rookie season,
Morrison missed his sophomore year with a torn left knee ligament.
The moustache is going to find it extremely difficult to do anything
in this league and he might go down as one of the worst selections
in draft history. Michael Jordan’s drafting resume isn’t
getting any better.
Another young player that missed the season because of a knee injury
was forward Sean May. The Bobcats at least got a full season out
of Morrison. May has played just 58 games in his entire three-year
career. The team will be thankful for any production they get out
of May next season.
After winning 33 games the year before, the Charlotte
Bobcats finally decided to spend some money to make a playoff push.
They handed out a few contract extensions and made some trades.
What was the end result? 32 wins. The strategy didn’t exactly
pan out the way they thought it would, but that doesn’t mean
all is lost for the Bobcats.
Their biggest and most surprising move was the trade for Jason Richardson.
All they had to give up was the 8th pick in the draft (Brandon Wright)
and a trade exception, the real downside was taking on Richardson’s
contract. It still has three years and $40 million remaining and,
at the time, Richardson was coming off an injury filled season that
was one of his worst. The risk was high, but thankfully Richardson
responded with an excellent year. His scoring average was back up
to 21.8 and he shot a career-high 40.6% from the three-point line.
As long as he keeps up those numbers, Richardson should be able
to earn his hefty paycheck.
With Larry Brown entering the picture, there is renewed hope for
a turnaround in Charlotte. The team is trying to make the leap from
struggling expansion club to playoff participant. That is a possibility
in the top-heavy East. The Bobcats have some talent to work with
in Richardson, Wallace, and Okafor. If Raymond Felton can improve
his shooting, he’ll be one of the better point guards in the
conference. Charlotte could add even more talent this summer since
they are well under the cap and own the ninth pick in the draft.
This team will certainly be capable of winning more than 32 games
and the experience of coach Brown might be exactly what they need.
If the going gets rough in Charlotte, will Larry
Brown get going? The longtime coach has had many short stints in
the NBA. I wonder how long Brown will hang around if the players
don’t respond to him right away and the losses start to mount.