Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jordan's big gamble

Anyone who has been to a Bobcats game knows the "Gerald WALLACE Wall-ace wall-ace" cry that comes from the P.A. man after every Wallace basket. It's an inspired bit -- my kids love to repeat it to each other, at random times, with the name fading away at the end just like the P.A. man says it.

Now Wallace has faded away for good from the Bobcats, and that means this is a sad day in franchise history. Wallace was the last remaining player from the original Bobcats in 2004, and so in some ways this day feels a bit like the one coming sometime when John Kasay and the Panthers part ways.

The trade? It's easy to say the Bobcats got creamed, for what they are getting that is coming in on the airplane is nothing like what is going out. The players, on the other hand, are mostly throwaways.

But two first-round draft choices? Now that you can do something with -- if owner Michael Jordan makes the right choice. And how confident can you be of that? Adam Morrison, Kwame Brown, etc etc.

The visceral reaction I have to the trade is I hate it. Without Wallace, the Bobcats just went from a team with a 50 percent chance to make the postseason to about a 25 percent chance. He was one of the team's two best players (along with Stephen Jackson), and you have to love anybody whose nickname is "Crash." Wallace is a fearless player and a high flyer who was the Bobcats' only all-star (ever). He is also honest, and a good guy.

Then again, his production has been a bit down this year. Sometimes on offense, he just camps in the corner and watches. He's got some miles on him now, and Gerald Henderson (who will play a lot more now) does a number of the same things, although he won't make ESPN SportsCenter as often.

So my more realistic reaction has to be: "We'll see." The picks that the Bobcats make for Wallace, the money that they now have to spend (if they spend it, a huge if given what they did in the Dampier situation) -- that determines if the deal was successful or not.

Maybe the Bobcats finish 11th in the Eastern Conference this year instead of 8th and another first-round sweep or 4-1 series loss, which was going to be inevitable. Does that really matter? Not much. What matters is becoming a truly elite team, which the Bobcats are gambling they can do with this deal.

Ultimately, maybe it works. For now, though, I know my kids -- and a whole lot of other folks -- are going to miss the sound of "Gerald WALLACE wallace wallace" fading away at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Bobcats are less athletic and less interesting for the rest of this season, and if I'm Paul Silas I'm not too fond of this deal in large part because my rebounding and defense just took a major hit, and I got nothing short-term to help me.

As for Jordan? He's playing blackjack again, and with this deal he just took a hit on 16.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

very good metaphor. Let everyone debate whether this was between 13 to 17 upon taking a "hit".

MichaelProcton said...

Scott, the only problem with this analysis is we were never CLOSE to a 50% shot at the playoffs. Closer to 15 or 20%. The Bobbies have already lost tiebreakers to most of the teams they're battling for a playoff spot, and their schedule is NOT easy down the stretch, particularly on a relative basis to those same competing teams. The truth of the matter is that I'm glad we're finally making a move to get us out of this NBA purgatory of mediocrity. Will that mean we're probably going to be really bad for the next year or two? Yeah, and that's to be expected in the newly-strengthened East. But ask OKC and Portland how well it can play out if you're willing to be patient, let it play out, and chase a conference championship appearance in four or five years rather than a first-round blowout in two.

Anonymous said...

well said michaelprocton

Anonymous said...

How does Scott Fowler keep a professional writing job? He must have dirt on somebody

Anonymous said...

25% chance of making the playoffs now? Try >1%... No way the team as assembled makes the playoffs.

Sportsdon said...

"Charlotte also received the Blazers' first-round pick in 2011 that was acquired from New Orleans in October's trade of Jerryd Bayless, and a first-round pick that is top 12 protected from 2013 through 2015 and unprotected in 2016."

Not quite as attractive as it sounds in our paper is it?

Got this from the Portland newspaper, since our local guys don't like to do any real homework on their stories.

No mention was made either that Bernie Bickerstaff is in Portland now and is the guy behind this deal.

rbs said...

The more you follow pro sports, the less sentimental you become. This may be heresy, but Kasay cost the Panthers a Super Bowl (not the mention the last Browns game) and is overdue to leave. Wallace was a mid-level player who worked hard and now has earned a reputation in the league. He's moving up.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is a gamble as much as an acknowledgement that draft picks are the only possible way for the Bobcats to become a competitive, consistent 50 win team in the east. The trend towards superstars congregating on fewer teams (Celtics/Heat/Knicks/Nets)does not bode well fot CLT being able to draw in that talent - therefore, the only real hope is draft talent into the organization.

Christian said...

I'm not as interested in the draft picks as I am in the extra salary cap space. They'll need the picks to fill out the bench because a lot of guys are coming off salary after the season, but there may be enough money now to sign, well, if not a top player, at least an almost-top player.

The Bobcats had peaked with their talent, and as much as I love Gerald Wallace they needed to do something besides struggle to get the 8th seed every season. Will it work? I hope so. But even if it doesn't, at least it acknowledges the team recognizes the morass it's in.

Anonymous said...

Why does everyone in the C/O keep referring to the Dampier deal as though Charlotte had a great opportunity to and wasted it??? Charlotte took that deal with the intent of dumping that contract and the only reason Dallas was making the deal was for the same purpose.

Everyone questions Charlotte's lack of ability to trade Dampier for value but there was no option for that action. Everyone in the league knew Dampier was gonna be waived, no matter what team he was with, so no one was gonna trade for him. Charlotte did to get out of the horendous Alexis draft choice by Brown (Tyson had to be included to make the trade valuable).

So please quite referencing the Dampier deal as if we blew an opportunity, we got under the luxiry tax which was the intention of the deal to begin with!

RobC said...

By the way, did anyone noticed that after this deal, assuming the Bobcats don't excercise the options on Livingston and White (which they shouldn't), by the summer of 2012 they should have enough cap to sign 2 Max deal's and another decent contract (about $36-$38M in Cap space) in the summer of 2012. This is when: C. Paul, D. Williams, D. Howard & C. Kaman, among other can become Free Agents. There are also guys like: K. Hinrich, M. Pietrus, JJ. Hickson, A. Jamison, J. Terry, Nene H., C. Lee, D. West and other Tier 2 guys who will be Free Agents.

If the Salary Cap is around $60M in 2012 (which makes sense, depending on the new CBA), the Bobcats will have anywere between $36-$40M avaliable for that summer and that is assuming they pick the options on DJ and Henderson. Also, you can add the Mid-Level and Bi-Annual Exceptions if they still exist. Also, the new CBA is expected to allow Small-Market teams to be more competitive.

So basically they will have: Augustin, Henderson, Jackson (expiring) and Thomas, plus the ability of signing 2 Max deals plus another contract of around $4-$6M per season, and the exceptions. In addition, in the summer of 2013 they'll have an additional $15-$18M avaliable when Jackson, Diop and Carroll contracts expire.

If MJ and his Staff use this Cap Space and Picks wisely, this can end up being the best trade ever. And yes, I will miss G-Wallace, he was my favorite Bobcat and I wish him the best, but from a business perspective, this can end up being a great trade afetr all.

Anonymous said...

This smells familiar. Remember the Alonzo trade Shinn made to Miami? Pat Riley was ecstatic. It was the one step Shinn made that completely took the wind out of my excitement for the Hornets. Trade a franchise player b/c the money's too high. GW gave us 110% every night. MJ's going the Jerry Richardson way - cheap cheap cheap. Hate to see GW go, but I lost my fever for NBA long ago. MJ just managed to piss off a lot of fans, I'm sure. Guess now he'll wait and see what surfaces. Bummer for GW.

George Hanson said...

There is NO WAY the Bobcats ever become a "truly elite team". Just not gonna happen. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

I think Gerald Wallace was a great building block. However, this was not his year. You could expect anywhere from 6 to 20 plus points on any given night from him. He became sullen and not much of a leader. I did miss him tonight because he's always been a part of the Bobcats. Longer than Michael Jordan. Michael needs to deliver. He has purged this team in the hopes for better opportunities. I just don't know. I do know that about four rows of seats in our section were empty. Other season ticket holders were pissed that renewed and Wallace is gone.

Anonymous said...

No way....Wallace has TALENT...

KASAY is a joke...I'm from UGA and this guy is a joke.....I have no clue how he stayed on the Panthers for so long...The Panthers were nice to keep him...