Monday, July 27, 2009

Thoughts on Okafor deal

A quick question for you: What do Gerald Wallace and John Kasay have in common?

Answer: Kasay is the last original Panther, and Wallace is now the last original Bobcat.

Assuming the Emeka-Okafor-and-Tyson-Chandler deal goes through Tuesday (and Chandler doesn't fail a physical due to his problematic big toe again), Wallace will be the only Bobcat left from that original 2004-05 team.

As I have written for Tuesday's Charlotte Observer, I haven't been a huge Okafor fan for the past several years. He's never been any better than he was as a rookie, when he was the NBA's Rookie of the Year (over Dwight Howard, which seems hard to believe now).

Okafor has never gotten worse since then, but he's never gotten much better, either. And he frustrated coach Larry Brown this past year because he doesn't have the sort of crazy basketball passion of a Wallace or a Raymond Felton.

Said Brown as the season concluded of Okafor: "I always tease that he has an 'A' in stretching, Pilates and yoga. I'd like him to have an 'A' in basketball.... He's got to work at his game. There's no better guy than him. I want him to have a passion (for basketball) because it ends so quickly.... He analyzes everything he does. I think he's just got to play."

The Okafor deal is a salary dump, certainly. The Bobcats just lopped more than $20 million off their future payroll. But that alone isn't enough reason to do this. Chandler also has to turn out to be healthy (he only played 45 games last season). He's 7-foot-1 and more instinctive than Okafor, who is a very mechanical player.

But that won't matter if Okafor is playing and Chandler is in a suit on the bench.

If Chandler stays healthy, I think this is a good deal for the Bobcats. Despite Okafor's numbers, they hadn't gone much of anywhere with him in the middle. Chandler has a chance to be a bigger difference-maker -- he won't score as often, but he can rebound about as well and can be more of an intimidator.

36 comments:

Michael said...

The Bobs have just traded a player who was not quite an all-star for a player who is definitely not an all-star.

MichaelProcton said...

WHAT? Chandler will be a "difference-maker?" He's not as good a defender, doesn't rebound well, and makes Okafor look like Amare Stoudemire in the paint. Stick to football, buddy.

Anonymous said...

Every trade the Bobcats have made since Larry Brown has arrived has appeared improved the team. There's no reason to believe than this one would be any different.

Andrew Voigt said...

This is absolutely horrible for the Bobcats. Chandler is a decent athlete, but Okafor FAR outweighs him in every aspect of basketball. Emeka works hard, is in incredible condition, never gets injured, has outstanding defense, provides a solid offensive performance, and really outperforms at his current position. He never should have been an NBA center to begin with. It's because the other centers suck so badly that they have to use him there. He's a power forward, yet he maintains his numbers.

I'm a huge Bobcats fan, but this trade, if it goes down, breaks my fan heart. Okafor was more for Charlotte than just a starting center. He was an ORIGINAL Cat, a Larry Johnson-sort of player for our new franchise.

Poor decision.

Anonymous said...

Would rather have 13 pts, 10 rebounds for 81 games than 9 pts, 9rebounds for 45 games. call me crazy...bad trade

Dave said...

Why not trade Nazr and future picks for Chandler? That way Oak can play his natural position, we get rid of Nazr's contract, and still have a chance of making the playoffs. I want to win now. If the Cats dont make the playoffs soon, basketball will have no hope here. A winning season can salvage that.

Vallejo said...

When I saw Marc Stein of ESPN report this possible deal just before I left work, I started smiling, and I even think I screamed in joy. The Bobcats were possibly getting rid of Okafor! The thought of not having to endure bad defensive sequences, lay-ups that should have been dunks getting blocked, dunks that missed, indeed, the whole Okafor repertoir in this 09/10 season just made me too happy.

Please, if you watched even 20 Bobcats games last year, you can't tell me you're glad Okafor is on his way out, no matter what the Bobcats are getting for him. And if Chandler is healthy, this would be a steal. Remember, the Bobcats are not only shedding an undersized center who can't dunk and often gets his shots blocked, but they're shedding his horrific contract! He was as untradeable as they come, and he's almost gone!

Oh please, let this happen! Even if Chandler's toe doesn't look good, just take him! There won't be many more chances to get rid of Okafor!

Anonymous said...

Larry Brown knows what he is doing. Chandler is a real center not a PF playing C and if healthy can be a stud. He can run the pick and roll, set screens and he rebounds on the offensive glass. he seems more intimidating and more passionate about the game. Okafor always seemed to be going through the motions. If healthy I think it could be an upgrade. We must bring back Felton though. But every move we have made since Brown became coach has been good. How many people thought trading Richardson was smart at the time?

Felton/Augustin

Wallace/Radmanovic

Bell/Henderson

Diaw/Diop

Chandler/Brown

etc

plus Larry Brown


Not bad imo

Vallejo said...

Also, this is a trade where the stats make one guy look way better than the other one.

I asked my wife what percentage of my rants during Bobcats games were due to some stupid thing Okafor did, and she had to agree it was a large part of the pie. Haven't you seen the guy play? Haven't you seen every big man in the league block his feeble attempts at lay-ups? Haven't you seen him pout like a spoiled teenager when he commits a dumb foul? I mean, I got tired of yelling "DUNK THE EFFING BALL" every time he was near the rim.

Also, consider that Chandler is just 26 years old. With only 2 years left on his deal. If he doesn't pan out this year, he'll be a nice expiring contract to dangle in 2010.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Nola, Emeka okafor. okafor will improve his scoring average by at least 4 points by playing with best point guard in the world CP3. Plus Okafor may actually be excited to see some actual fans in the seats for once. The nba's return to Charlotte has been a disaster no fans, bad ownership = Kansas City here I come in 5 years lol!

Dave said...

Vallejo, I had season tickets so yeah I saw every game last year. Since you mentioned "if you saw even twenty games last year..." well that would be only twenty five less than what Chandler saw last year.
Everyone keeps saying "IF" hes healthy. Well thats the same for everyone. However, the reality is, is that this guy is glass. He shatters every year.
I will admit Oak should've dunked more and should grow longer fingers so he doesn't bobble the ball so much, but at least he is on the court for 2 full seasons.
I dont have a problem trading the guy, lets just be smart for what we trade him for. Dont forget he is a PF playing center in the NBA. Give the guy credit for doing well out of position his whole career.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me dumb*ss but the Hornets arena is dead as a doornail everytime they are on. Even in primetime they got empty blue seats everywhere. The distance to KC is much easier and shorter from NO fool-keep talking. NC's most wanted is about to turn your city upside down too-WATCH

Keith said...

I have to agree with the poster that said that every trade we've made since Larry Brown arrived has made us better. I was SHOCKED when we let Richardson go so 'cheaply' and it turned out to turn the season around.

Larry Brown is behind these trades. He has a better basketball mind than all of us put together, so just let him do his work.

MichaelProcton said...

Pretty incredible, Vallejo, that Okafor has been a 50% better time-adjusted scorer in his career than Chandler, given he's such a terrible player on offense. Even though Chandler is playing with the best PG in the league!

Wanna know some of Larry Brown's OTHER brilliant moves? Alexis Ajinca (think he'll produce like the top five pick this year Brown was sure he would have been?); Linton Johnson; Andre Brown; Darko Milicic; everything he did in New York while running the Knicks into the ground without a care.

Ross said...

Scott, come on. Don't be a corporate stooge. The Okafor for Chandler trade is terrible for the Bobcats.

First of all, the Bobcats lose games because we can't score as many points as our opponents (to paraphrase Yogi Bera) and Chandler isn't an upgrade in this category. His best season, 2007, saw him reach his peak in scoring at 12 pts per game. And in that season, he was the 4th leading scorer for the Hornets behind Paul, West and Stojakovic, 3 players that are arguably better talents than Felton, Diaw and Bell.

Secondly, Chandler's contract runs out in 2010. I'm all for freeing up cap space if you're the Knicks and players want to come to a basketball town with lucrative off the court contracts. But this is Charlotte, and to date, we haven't had much luck attracting marquee talent. And moreover, while I'm all for saving 40mm over the last 4 yrs on Ok's contract, centers aren't cheap in this league and 10mm a year for a double double guy is the market, like it or not. Heck, Chris Kaman makes 10mm a year. And if Chandler proves to be healthy and has a great season, guess what, signing him will be more expensive than Okafor and keeping him will be about as much fun as Toronto is having with Chris Bosh.

Lasrly, prior to his 2007 breakout season with 12 pts (his only one with greater than 10 pts per) Tyson Chandler was compared to his draft day brethren, Kwame Brown, one of the biggest busts of this decade. While Okafor will never hold a candle to his brethren (Dwight Howard), he is consistent and a good role player for the Cats. Now, we've got a player in Chandler who will come to town with expectations that probably shouldn't be heaped on him. Instead, we should all say to ourself, let's hope he's as good as Okafor for the two yrs we have him....wow, what a great trade.

Ross

Anonymous said...

MichaelProcton,

He doesn't rebound well?! He led the league in rebounding a couple years ago!

Anonymous said...

This trade stinks. The rest of the East has gotten better and we just took two steps backward. No playoffs next year. Sign a true center and move Oakafor to his true power forward position

karenk said...

Who wouldn't rather have a better team then an original Bobcat? This is about what the Bobcats need to improve. This trade is not going to make us a threat in the East but it does give us flexibility in 2010.

MichaelProcton said...

Anon, every advanced stat shows he's an inferior rebounder to Okafor.

karenk, I'd LOVE to have a better team. But this deal doesn't do that. It makes us worse in every way, except a couple inches of height. And what good is "flexibility" exactly when no FA worth a damn will come sign with you because you're coming off a 25-win season?

Anonymous said...

This past season, New Orleans Arena was filled to 98.7% capacity on average (8th in league).

Anonymous said...

The Bobcats are now dead to me.

Trade the only good player they have ever had, who is a class act, for basically nothing.

What a rudderless ship.

Can we trade Raleigh for the Hurricanes?

Jeffrey said...

I have been saying that this would happen. As other teams were making deals all over the place, to improve their teams, people were wondering why the Bobcats were so quiet. I said to myself that they would end up making a move, but it would be a STUPID one, and now here we are. Both players are limited offensively, but Okafor is better. Both are decent defenders, but Okafor is better. Both have durability problems, but over the last couple of years Okafor is better. Whatever good offensive production Chandler has was a result of the supreme player Chris Paul is, and Chandler won't have that here, so his offensive stats will actually get worse. THIS IS ONE OF THE DUMBEST TRADES EVER!

Anonymous said...

Okafor isn't as good as his stats. He might put up better numbers but Chandler (if healthy....a BIG IF) is a better basketball player.

Larry Brown is looking for basketball players. Okafor is a nice guy and an upstanding citizen. He has balance in his life and basketball is a job, a means to an end for him. That's great for Okafor, but as a fan of the team, I want someone with passion for the game. Someone for whom basketball is the objective, not simply a vehicle to a comfortable retirement, is my preference as a fan.

Okafor will probably make someone a better husband, since he puts basketball in proportion to the rest of his life, but Chandler will make me happier as a fan.

Anonymous said...

I too am a season ticket holder and I think it's a good deal. LB knows what he is doing.People seem to forget that the first few years, Okafor was also injury prone.
I can't tell you how many times I screamed at Okafor when he got his shots blocked, bobbled a great pass, missed a 2 foot lay-up, etc.
I'm willing to take a chance with Chandler; Okafor just doesn't seem to have a passion for the game!

Anonymous said...

Bobcats just got rid of a huge contract and marginal player. We received a serviceable player for a very short term contract. This is another great maneuver by Coach Brown to position the team to win. As a season ticket holder i am very pleased...

ShouldhavetakenHansbrough!! said...

Okafor was and will always be GARBAGE!!!! No real fan of the Bobcats wants him here. He is a stiff. I give more effort in the stands than he ever did in uniform. What we got in return is a solid CENTER, a need for sure. Way to go MJ and Larry!! Now if you can just find a way to turn back the clock and re think that horrible draft pick of Henderson. You had a shot at Hansbrough, and now you will pay for it 8 times a year.

Anonymous said...

Good trade/bad trade? Won't know for months. What I see is a coach with no faith in his player. Okafor is a decent player but he has made no progress. Chandler is not really an upgrade except for the fact that he is longer and is probably a better shot blocker. It is a future salary dump and that's probably a bigger factor than we all see in this.

Anonymous said...

This is a STUPID TRADE !

BobcatsFan said...

Tyson's health is the only question mark for this trade. Let's be honest people! Emeka was a underperformer except his rookie year. He avg. over 15 PPG in his rooke year and he's been declining since then. That could be attributed to Raymond not getting him the ball and that will show once CP3 is on the court with him. Emeka has no offensive moves and he ranks near the top of the league in players who get their shot blocked the most. Emeka never really made gains from season to season. I was surprised the team signed him to that big contract after his numbers declined from the previous year. Hopefully Tyson is healthly and if so, the production should be close and we have a legit 7ft enter with mobility.

Anonymous said...

Obviously you idiots dont know the game of basketball, the cats bring in a high energy player who cause ruckus for opposing teams, unlike okafur! This was a great trade, and more energy will on the court at Time Warner Cable Arena!!! PS: Chandler also bring big game experience to the roster!!!

MichaelProcton said...

Anon 12:17: Bold statements you make about Okafor given I doubt you've never met him. When he's scoring twice as much as Chandler while rebounding more and blocking more shots, will you still maintain that Chandler is the better player regardless of what the stats say?

MichaelProcton said...

1:58, Chandler has been in the league longer and hasn't improved, either. Further, he's NOT longer. His standing reach and wingspan are almost exactly the same.

2:51, that "ruckus" won't matter when we're down 20 at home in March and we're 6 games out of the playoff race.

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one. Whereas it's certainly not clear that this makes them any better, it shouldn't make them any worse and if Chandler better fits with Brown's approach then maybe it's an ok move.

Okafor wasn't ever going to do any more than he already has for the Bobcats and Chandler has some upside in an attacking offense. My guess is they're not finished making deals and they'll add someone who will take a lot of shots, thus Chandler won't be any particular pressure to produce larger offensive numbers than he has in the past. Okafor's numbers will surely go up playing with Paul but so what?

The Future said...

It's a great move. We'll have a center who can really bang with the biggest of the bigs and had the agility to improv with Felton, Wallace, Diaw and Vlad. I'm excited to see how it all works out. In Larry Brown I trust.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of a 7'1" center with a low post scoring presence and a proven ability to run the floor and play pick-n-roll.

Larry Brown is smart enough to build a "team" that can win...not based upon individual stats...but upon combined skill sets...a team that can compete and make a run at the play-offs.

Watch...the Bobcats will make the plaoffs this year.

Anonymous said...

The only problem now is, Who do we root for?? The last few years, the Bobcats were awful, but at least they had players you could root for. Now, with Larry Brown, and his band of NBA mercenaries, there is simply no compelling reason to attend the games. After all, the Bobcats were in no danger of winning an NBA title before Brown and they are not close now. Two more years, and Brown will get bored and leave. Where does that leave the fans?? Right back where we started except for the lighter wallet. It's all just a waste of time and money. At least before, with players such as Okafor, limited as they may be, they were fun to root for if for no other reason than it was obvious they were hustling. Now, its just another middle of the pack NBA team.Ho Hum...