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October 22, 2009

The reality of the Bobcats' payroll

One way or another, two of you have written to say the Bobcats should sign Dionte Christmas and Carlos Powell, now that they technically have an open roster spot.

Thanks for playing at home, and I really don't mean this in any flippant way, but you don't understand the realities, no matter how often I write them.

The Charlotte Bobcats painted themselves into a corner in a big way. They're way too close to the luxury-tax threshold, and there is zero chance of them crossing that border. So the value of exploring guys of D-League value at NBA prices has passed.

This is mostly about deals that brought Gana Diop, Nazr Mohammed and, to a lesser extent, Vlade Radmanovic to the Bobcats. None of those guys are quite worth the contracts the Bobcats inherited (though the jury is out on Radmanovic). That reduced the Bobcats' options to the extent that it's hard to justify risking even a minimum salary on a flyer.

Get used to it. They need to find a great trade at a time in our general economy when it's challenging to get anyone to buy your (now) over-priced house.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 22, 2009 at 07:36 PM | Permalink


Wouldn't the Brendan Wright-Jason Richardson trade also be a contributor to the problem? Seems so long ago now, but the day before that trade, the Bobcats had more cap room than they knew what to do with. Obviously they didn't know what to do with it...

Posted by: James Edgar | Oct 22, 2009 8:23:30 PM

I pretty much understand the realities of the luxury tax threshold or whatever you call it. For this team to grow, they owners will have to continue to spent money.....if the business must be viable especially with this team, they (owners) need to continue to take the risk. If this team is not wining games, it is very possible that they (Bocats) will loss its fan base. No one want to be in a losing situation all the time. Most of the players on this team are complimenting talents that feed big stars like Kobe, Lebron, Wade, etc. With the current caliber of players....I have some doubts if the Bocat will be a playoff team this year again. I know Brown and his coaching staff are trying very hard, but the Front Office has made some serious trades and acquisitions blunders that is costing the team these financial losses.

Believe me or not, the current preseason games are examples of what we will see during the regular season. The team will win one game and they'll loose three games in a row. Tell me, how're we going to qualified for the playoff. One thing, if the Bobcats aren't able to beat Orlando and the Hawks, forget it, we will not qualify for the playoff.

Posted by: nunu20041 | Oct 22, 2009 8:43:26 PM

The J-Rich trade on draft day did use up cap space, but...without that happening, the Bobcats could not have gotten Diaw and Bell (so if you feel they are paid a reasonable amount by NBA standards, it's a mute point). After all, if we could have the 13M back from Diop and Nazr you could have another NBA stud (13M is more than our highest paid player).

However, it's all a domino effect. If they didn't have J-Rich, who would they have drafted? They made it clear it would not have been Brandon Wright...would they have been better or worse that year, impacting their lottery position.

Posted by: BlockParty | Oct 22, 2009 8:49:26 PM

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why the NBA has gotten so bad. Player salaries have accelerated much more than the salary cap, so teams end up with bums making way too much money.

It's sad that a non-playoff (probably not even close) like the BumCats are over the salary cap.

Posted by: TP | Oct 22, 2009 9:49:18 PM

Rick.....you are telling me the Bobcats do not have enough money to pay Dionte Christmas the league minimum without going over the luxury tax ???

Posted by: Elliot | Oct 22, 2009 10:41:43 PM

these are the types of deals jordan made in washington, seems like he didn't learn a damn thing. bj might have to take a loss to sell this team.

Posted by: nathan | Oct 22, 2009 11:01:47 PM


Luxury cap limit is: $69.92mm

Best I can calculate, Bobcats payroll is @ $68.27mm - leaving no more thn $1.65mm to reach the luxury tax threshhold. Some websites have slightly different numbers, so the remainder may be less than this figure.

Once over the thresshold, Bobcats pay a tax of $1 for each dollar over. That money gets distributed to all the teams under the threshhold at seasons end.

So let's say the Bobcats go $1mm over the threshhold. They would pay the $1mm in tax AND THEY WOULD LOSE OUT on their fair share for being under the thresshold. Last year that was around $3mm!!! so going into luxury tax land is even worse than one would think! Going just $1 over the limit costs $3mm!!!!

Better to hold off on signing that last spot and the money to be used until you really, really know what your on the court talent needs are. And injuries later in the season are unpredictable.

Bonehead decisions that got the Bobcats into this mess: a) exercising Adam Morrison's 4th year option, b) trading for Nazr Mohammend, c) signing Matt Carroll for so many years.

p.s. and don't look further down the road - the bobcats luxury cap situation is evey worse for 2010-2011 and we haven't even begun this season yet!

Posted by: bobfan1 | Oct 22, 2009 11:14:50 PM

bobfan1 thanks for the information, i knew all of that....what i was saying was do we not have 500,000 to give christmas ? without going over ?

Posted by: Elliot | Oct 22, 2009 11:43:05 PM

give a contract to carlos powell!!! that kid can ball...not particularly good at defense but he can rebound the ball and score a great rate (as evidenced by his high scoring stops in multiple leagues around the world)

Posted by: Justin Chen | Oct 23, 2009 12:55:55 AM

Elliot - my numbers are close estimates based on best reliable web-sites, so who knows truly how close the Bobcats are to the limit.

However, the point is: do you want to use the last roster spot now or wait until later in the season to see what is truly required based on injuries?

Also, what happens if there is a 2:1 trade situation (we give up the 1) that develops. If the Bobcats fill the 15th spot now, that limits their trade flexibility as they couldn't putt off a 2:1.

So while the Bobcats may have $457,488 (league minimum for a rookie) to offer under the luxury tax limit, it has other implications.

Posted by: bobfan1 | Oct 23, 2009 7:34:58 AM

"Thanks for playing at home, and I really don't mean this in any flippant way, but you don't understand the realities, no matter how often I write them."

I think you could maybe come off as a bit more of an pompous jerk if you tried a little bit harder.

PLEASE! Don't give us CRAP NBA coverage all year long and then try to come off as an NBA expert that is constantly trying to teach the Charlotte public. You may know more about the NBA than most of your average readers, but in a list of NBA cities and esteemed NBA writers, you wouldn't exactly be up near the top. Believe it or not, this isn't exactly the first place people might look for coverage, even if they are Bobcats fans.

Posted by: Greg | Oct 23, 2009 8:12:06 AM

Elliot - so Christmas is now a 'dead deal' for other reasons.......

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia police say former Temple University basketball star Dionte Christmas, who was cut by the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, has been arrested on firearms charges.

Police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore says Christmas was stopped by Highway Patrol officers at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday for erratic driving in North Philadelphia. Vanore says he was found to be driving without a license, and the vehicle had a 9mm semiautomatic pistol under the driver's seat.

Vanore says Christmas was taken to the 35th Police District to be charged with felony firearms offenses.

The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 19.5 points per game in his senior season at Temple. His agent, Andre Buck, said he is trying to contact his client. Sixers spokesman Mike Preston says the team will not comment.

Posted by: bobfan1 | Oct 23, 2009 10:50:40 AM

I would gamble on sending Bell and Nazr to Golden State for Stephen Jackson and Ronnie Turiaf. Turiaf is a banger at the 4 and Jackson is as productive as Joe Johnson, but he can also defend 2's & 3's relatively well.

Posted by: larry | Oct 23, 2009 10:58:05 AM

Larry - here is the issue with the Bobcats payroll that I alluded to earlier about 2010 -2011.

Your proposed trade is 'cap friendly' in 2009-2010. We give up exactly what we get back in terms of salary.

The problem is 2010-2011. Your proposed trade would increase the payroll by a net of $5.6mm next year. And THAT could put the team into the luxury tax next year (expected to be between $61mm and $64mm). And that is without any money to re-sign Felton or the 1st round draft choice!

Posted by: bobfan1 | Oct 23, 2009 12:28:10 PM

Larry, if you do that deal, put in Diop by all means. Nazzy has a shorter and cheaper contract, and with the amount we'd be taking back, it's ultra-important to get as much value as possible, and Nazzy has played very well, Diop not so much. Since Raja may be able to play, you might even try Gana and Vladi.

Posted by: Teej | Oct 23, 2009 12:30:21 PM

who is talking about a carlos powell or a dionte christmas? jesus H those guys don't belong getting an opportunity when stackhouse, mccants, herrmann, szerbiak, etc. are out of work or playing overseas right now.

but rick explain to me this......considering the point of the blurb...what's up with giving stevie graham a roster spot because he reminds brown of george lynch. that's looney. i like the guy too but he's not george lynch and even if he was, given our situation, flexibility would have been more worth it than to have a possible george lynch on the end of the bench behind wallace and radmonovic and a solid draft choice in brown. to me it hurts us more than helps to lose minutes for brown.

Posted by: charlottean | Oct 23, 2009 1:43:06 PM

BOBFAN - Are you an expert on everything ? Because the way you adress everyone's comments, it seems as though....well....u know everything

Posted by: Elliot | Oct 23, 2009 11:14:23 PM

and the problem with looking at wally or stackhouse or any of those guys is because they would cost more than a million per year, at least if you take a chance on a good rookie, it adresses a need and cost less than half a mill....why not ?

Posted by: Elliot | Oct 23, 2009 11:16:02 PM

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