Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dampier's salary dump: what a mess

Here's a small sneak preview of the column I'm writing about Erick Dampier and his brief time with the Charlotte Bobcats for Wednesday's newspaper:

And with the No.2 pick of the 2004 NBA draft, the Charlotte Bobcats select….
Nobody.

That’s how it seems, anyway, after the Bobcats waived center Erick Dampier Tuesday and got rid of his unguaranteed, $13.07-million salary for next season.

This release sounds OK in principle on first glance. The Bobcats were able to get below the luxury tax and Dampier is too old to help them much on the court. The Bobcats certainly aren’t good enough to be paying a luxury tax.

But chase this one down the rabbit hole far enough and you won’t like what you see. Essentially, the Bobcats have made two trades in the past two summers that got rid of center Emeka Okafor and ended up with hardly anything but payroll relief.

Okafor was once the NBA Rookie of the Year in Charlotte. Even though Okafor will always be a somewhat robotic player, he was still an asset.

The Bobcats basically traded Okafor to New Orleans for Tyson Chandler last summer in large part because Chandler’s contract had fewer years left on it. Then they traded Chandler away to Dallas in July and picked up a couple of spare parts and Dampier’s non-guaranteed salary.

At the time of that trade, Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins called Dampier’s non-guaranteed contract extremely valuable because of the relief it could afford another team. Higgins sounded like he was holding a winning poker hand.

Turned out he wasn’t, and today Higgins and Bobcats owner Michael Jordan need to be called out on that. Fans don’t care that Jordan is saving a few million by not paying a luxury tax. They aren’t cheering today: “Yes! We waived a guy with a huge salary!”

They want to see a better product on the floor, and right now there’s little way to imagine that the Bobcats are a better team in 2010-11 than they were in 2009-10.

I guess this is the move that Jordan warned us about – the one that gets the Bobcats out of a salary mess and better equipped to do the next good deal down the road.
It’s just amazing to me that in only six years the Bobcats got into that big of a mess in the first place.

29 comments:

Ray said...

Why does it seem that every story you write has negative undertones. You sound like Debbie downer.

Bobcats1 said...

Scott - they got into this mess by a) overpaying for Emeka two years ago, and b) signing Matt Carroll to a riduculous salary three years ago, and c) trading for Nazr when Brezec and Hermann had little time left on their contracts.

you only ran down the 1st rat hole...check out the next 2 I listed.

dmutombo said...

Scott, glad to hear you call them out on this because Rick certainly didnt.

He is extolling the financial benefits of waiving Dampier to avoid the Lux tax. At this point, waiving him is indeed the right move.

But the real story, as you mention, is that they should never have acquired Dampier and the two other garbage contracts to begin with.


Bobcats1 - The Diop acquisition is another oldie but goodie.

bobfan1 said...

dmutombo

actaully, I did cover the Diop item via the 'Carroll rat hole'

had we not signed carroll to that large contract, it never would have made sense to trade for Diop. The team was top heavy at guards, making carroll expendible and since we had to find a player that made the same as carroll (within 25%), Diop fit that bill as well as being a 'big'.


Carroll had around 5 years on his contract at that point. if it had been, let's say 1-2, even for the same money, it would have been a hard stretch to sign a player with 5 years remaining (Diop) for a 2 year guy (Carroll)

Anonymous said...

Who cares about this NBA crap?

J said...

Scott, I totally disagree with you on several points.

Okafor was re-signed before Larry Brown got here, and that marriage was never going to work. So we traded Okafor for a shorter contract. Then we traded that shorter contract for cap relief.

"there’s little way to imagine that the Bobcats are a better team in 2010-11 than they were in 2009-10?" That's crazy talk. Last year we only had 2 guys who could actually score with regularity - GW and Jax. Carroll can shoot well. Is he overpaid? Yes. Does he fill a need? Yes. Also, Nazr is better offensively than Chandler. If Kwame Brown can play defense (a big if, to be sure), we'll be OK at center. The East has 6 really good teams and a bunch of awful teams. Getting the 7th seed again is very attainable.

You're amazed the Bobcats got in the financial mess in the first place? It was just some players that didn't work out that ended up costing a lot of money - mainly Okafor and Jason Richardson (remember, the Bobcats traded a rookie for J-Rich and his big contract, which took up most of the cap space). Now MJ & Higgins are taking steps to correct those mistakes.

Have a little faith, man!

mike jordan said...

Anonymous said...

Who cares about this NBA crap?
September 15, 2010 7:18 AM

apparently your dumb@ss does! why else would you post a comment clown!?

Chris said...

Hey! Scott took down my comment that criticized his writing/articles. He should be use to a little criticism as a writer.

Anonymous said...

Damn its stupid as hell to talk about the NBA after just one NFL game and MBA still in progress.

Come back in December with this mess.

dmutombo said...

bobsfan1:

We're in total agreement that signing Carroll to that bloated deal was a mistake.

But, trading Carroll for Diop was an even bigger mistake that just compounded their financial woes. Even though they were top heavy with guards and in need of a center at the time, it was an incredibly bone headed move given Diop's contract and history.

Diop's deal is one of the worst albatrosses in the league. At least Carroll's contract was front loaded and is cheaper in the later years.

The real irony of the whole situation is that after swapping one bad contract (Carroll's) for another (Diop's), a year or so later they ultimately ended up with both of them on the books.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, I'm being serious here...How is Scott Fowler still allowed to write articles about the Bobcats? His smug, snarky, negative trash isn't wanted.

Smarter Person said...

what sport is the MBA?????? You Gastonia hillbillies are always good for a laugh.

Michael said...

Ugh...I'm right with you, Scott. Okafor wasn't CLOSE to overpaid. There is no NBA big man with his resume and skills getting paid any less on anything but a rookie contract. He was a double-double machine, and suited up every night. Sure wasn't what we got from Chandler, and won't be what we get from the black hole that is Dampier's nonexistent spot on our roster.

The Dark Knight said...

Scott is a bandwagon-jumping, "let me jump on whatever is negative/positive at the moment" moron. Especially when it has come to the Cats. Always ready to write them off before the game even starts, and then, when the Cats actually win a few games at the end of the season-- or make the playoffs- he is right there with them toasting his cup in the air and giving high-fives via his columns. BARF

Anonymous said...

It was actually formed and called Major (League) Baseball Association MBA for 100 yrs and later labled MLB or Major League Baseball.

Anonymous said...

good article

Chris said...

Scott, no real Bobcats fan cares what you think or trusts your opinion. You do NOT have a good enough grasp of the NBA to write about the Bobcats. You're lucky you can get by with this sh*t; it's only because our cities fans are pretty lackluster in general. Please don't write about the 'cats until the playoffs when you hop back on the bandwagon and write more stupid articles. Or better yet just quit.

Anonymous said...

Okafor is very overpaid. If you don't think his contract is excessive then you need to watch more basketball.

Michael said...

I watch plenty. And I see exactly six other players who have, like Okafor, averaged a double-double for their career. That's not a year, or two, or three. That's a SIX year career.

Sandy said...

It's not often that I agree with Scott, but this time I do.

No, "Mr. Double-Double" wasn't overpaid. His production justified his contract. However, Larry Brown didn't like this player; he focused more on negatives than on what Emeka can actually contribute. When you decide to have LB as a coach, you have to accommodate his roster changes wishes.
Besides pleasing LB, trading Emeka for Chandler also made plenty of sense financially.

But now, trading Chandler for players like Najera and Matt Carroll (I like Matt, but he's not a Larry Brown type of player, and I can't expect him to get many minutes under this coach), plus signing Kwame Brown, is weakening the team, and is also financially dubious. The Bobcats save $4.4 million on this season's payroll, but they also add a $6.5 million salary liability for the 2011-12 season (for Najera and Carroll)! Not a good return for what was a great trade asset: Chandler's expiring contract.

Scott is exactly right to say that the fans are not going to cheer for the savings in this year's payroll. They want an improved team, and that's not what we are getting now.

Anonymous said...

So you want to pay someone a 6 year, $72M contract for 10 points and 10 rebounds?

Makes sense...

Anonymous said...

Okafor was not worth that kind of money. There is no way he was worth that kind of money. The Hornets want to get rid of the contract and no one will take it right now. They will have to give up CP3 to get rid of it/him, and that may not even be enough for certain teams.

Dealing with Najera and Carroll and their contracts is a lot easier of a pill to swallow than Okafor's.

Anonymous said...

Scott call NBA heaquarters and ask for a do over. I'm sure they'll listen to you NBA Guru.

Anonymous said...

I seriously disagree with just about everything Fowler writes...what a dolt.

tarheel2184 said...

Fowler you sound SO NEGATIVE ALL THE TIME! Your not even a Bobcats fan!! I dont think this team is in any worst shape why pay $13 million to someone who gets you only like 4 points and a few rebounds a game thats not worth $13 million. I could see like a Dirk Norwitzski or Tim Duncan getting that but not Eric Dampier he SUCKS! Tyson Chandler sucked until he was on the USA Team this year. I think Derrick Brown is going to surprise people! Go Bobcats!

Michael said...

No, I would not, 7:47. Fortunately, however, Okafor offered significantly better numbers than that in EVERY year of his Bobcats career. In Charlotte, he averaged 14 and 11 while shooting at an exceptional percentage from the field and great defense, including nearly two blocks a game. Then again, they were paying Chandler MORE for that phenomenal 6-6 performance he delivered.

Anonymous said...

The sad part is Scott probably asked Rick Bonnell for help on this article.

Belle said...

I’m getting my monthly salary through online payroll services. Everything is good and fast. I’m happy with my payroll.
Las Vegas
, here I come!! I’ve got money to spend!

darcy said...

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