Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Jefferson and Bobcats make it official


Al Jefferson officially joined the Charlotte Bobcats Wednesday, immediately becoming the team’s best low-post player and also exhibiting some Southern charm in his opening press conference.

“I can’t express how happy I am to be here,” said Jefferson, who said he also had some interest from Dallas and New Orleans. Originally from a small town in Mississippi, Jefferson said Charlotte reminded him of his roots and that he “couldn’t sleep a wink” after visiting with team brass recently. He said he had run into future teammate Kemba Walker in New York a couple of months ago and they had joked about teaming up without ever truly believing it would become a reality.

Said Rod Higgins, the Bobcats’ president of basketball operations, of Jefferson: “He gives us a low-post presence we have not had on our roster and brings a skill set that does not become available very often.”

Jefferson, a nine-year NBA veteran, has averaged 16.5 points and nine rebounds over his career. His signing represents the boldest and most expensive free-agent acquisition since the Bobcats began play in 2004 and should help quell the notion that owner Michael Jordan won’t spend big money to try and win. Jefferson, 28, reportedly has received a deal from the Bobcats worth about $41 million over three years, with the third year at the player’s option.

The Bobcats have gone 28-120 over the past two seasons, and one of their biggest problems has been scoring in the low post and defending the rim. Jefferson is a rarity in the NBA – a true back-to-the-basket center, something the Bobcats haven’t had since Emeka Okafor.

From Mississippi, where he was drafted out of high school in 2004, Jefferson is listed at 6-foot-10 and close to 290 pounds. He was picked 15th overall in that draft – the same one in which the Bobcats selected Emeka Okafor No.2 overall. For old-timers, Jefferson said his game is similar to former NBA star Moses Malone – an old-school mix of athleticism, crafty pump fakes and pure strength.

Jefferson is an old-school player with far more offense in his game than Bismack Biyombo (although his defense is off and on and he has some trouble defending the pick-and-roll). He will likely start alongside rookie Cody Zeller at power forward, giving the Bobcats far more scoring punch down low than they’ve had for awhile. Jefferson led the Jazz in scoring and rebounding last year. He and Dwight Howard are the only two NBA players to have averaged at least 17 points and nine rebounds over each of the past six seasons.

In other news Wednesday, the Bobcats officially waived Tyrus Thomas and designated him as their "amnesty" player for salary-cap relief and officially signed rookie first-round pick Cody Zeller.



19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Big time signing. 12 mil a year for Bynum? No thanks. Welcome to Charlotte Big Al! Team is really starting to take shape.

Merritt said...

Welcome Big Al!

This coming season is looking more and more like a fun time. The view from Section 103 should be great! Go Bobnets!

Anonymous said...

Cool beans!!!

Anonymous said...

The worst signing in the East according to someone on ESPN.

"The Al Jefferson signing. Charlotte overpaid Jefferson so it could ... win 28 games instead of 24? Still miss the playoffs, but dent its odds of landing one of the future stars of the 2014 draft class? Continue its run as the worst team in the history of North American professional sports? Am I getting close?"

Anonymous said...

Well its a step n the right direction, bit if does go out and get Monta Ellis to go with Big Al then I might buy tickets to the game instead waiting for a ticket give away.

Anonymous said...

This was a good signing and a chance to get a credited big man in the paint. We still need a person that people would love to see every night because people here don't appreciate team ball from pro b-ball teams, especially when they are losing. Good pick up all the same in my opinion. Welcome to North Cack' Al!

Anonymous said...

Man, I hope he does become Moses Malone for us.

HiphopAndBasketball said...

He's one of the best centers in the NBA. Good move by the Bobcats, he's probably the best player in charlotte bobcat history.
Check out my blog http://bestdunks2000s.blogspot.com/
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Anonymous said...

The postings about not a being a good pickup by Charlotte is by the same ones who felt they should be bad for another year to try and get the top pick. Well, we see where that landed us so that's just crazy. Plus, what team will get fan support without trying to put a winning roster intact. Al is not a risk, it's only 2 years guaranteed and we still got a draft next year with a chance to make some noise in the East this year. Also, some say his defense isn't that good but what we were lacking is consistent scoring as it reflects in the games we got beat in the fourth quarter. As history has shown, players taken on the back half of the first round and gone on to be All-Star just as much as a lottery pick and us getting teh #1 pick isn't a guarantee. I don't understand, first they say Jordan dont' want to spend and then when he does it's "oh, he's spending too much or to the wrong person". Give me a break sportswriters.

HiphopAndBasketball said...

He's one of the best centers in the NBA. Good move by the Bobcats, he's probably the best player in charlotte bobcat history.
Check out my blog http://bestdunks2000s.blogspot.com/
thanks

Jeff said...

Congratulations to Al Jefferson. He has worked very hard to perfect a timeless offensive skill set. I hope he enjoys every minute in Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

At least they're trying.

Anonymous said...

Best Free Agent signing EVER by the Charlotte Bobcats, so the ESPN dolts can eat 'em and smile. Al Jefferson as your starting Center and Brendan Haywood as the backup Center; pretty potent. You want to criticize Jefferson for his lack of defense...well, the Bobcats needed scoring first and foremost. Under the guidance of their new coaching staff, the Bobcat players will do one thing: put forth effort, and that is really what defense is all about. Adding a Double-Double Center is a bad thing? Biyombo doesn't score, MKG doesn't score, and Haywood doesn't exactly light the basket on fire. This team addressed it's need, which was low post scoring. Jefferson was not added in order to make the playoffs in 2013-2014; he is there to carry the 3 new 1st Round picks in 2014 and beyond.

The focus here is on the Hornets season, not the Bobcats.

Anonymous said...

ESPN is right that we probably will miss the playoffs. But I would not be surprised if we actually do MAKE the playoffs. Al Jefferson is in his prime and has plenty of talent. I like seeing them make a responsible move like this than gambling on the lottery.

Sfinsf said...

Jefferson's teams are worse with him on the court than on it. Cnnsi today says we had the worst offseason in the league. I agree. Should have taken Millsap at half the cost.

Anonymous said...

I'm laughing at ANYONE in the media say ANY NBA team don't overspend on players. Give me a break! They overspend on EVERYONE! And the contracts are all guaranteed! Seems backwards to me. Either spend less on guaranteed contracts, or spend more but not guarantee the contracts, make them play for the money instead of becoming an average player.

Anonymous said...

who cares?

Anonymous said...

NO BOOING?

THATS ODD ..

Anonymous said...

Seems like a good pickup! We went against our grain to develop players and got an immediate impact veteran, in addition to a solid developmental center in the draft... seems like we're starting to build a team :)