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June 30, 2010

Miles among summer invitees

The Charlotte Bobcats just finalized their summer roster, and it includes one-time lottery pick Darius Miles, who worked out for the team in a free-agent camp before the draft.

The team will practice Thursday through Sunday in Orlando, then coach Larry Brown plans to trim down to about 12 players for a week of summer-league games.

The roster:

Alexis Ajinca (Bobcats forward)

Alade Aminu  (former Georgia Tech forward)

Antonio Anderson (former Memphis guard who nearly made the Bobcats two years ago)

Brandon Bowman   (former Georgetown forward)

Derrick Brown (Bobcats forward)

Denis Clemente  (former Kansas State  guard)

Sherron Collins (former Kansas guard)

Marquis Gilstrap (former Iowa State forward)

Marcus Ginyard (former North Carolina guard)

Brandon Hazzard (former Troy guard)

Gerald Henderson (Bobcats guard)

Nathan Jawai (Australian center)

Tyren Johnson  (former Louisiana-Lafayette forward)

 Jerel McNeal (former Marquette guard)

Darius Miles (forward for several NBA teams)

Jeremy Pargo (Gonzaga guard)

 Pape Sow  (former Ca State-Fullerton center)

 P.J. Tucker (former Texas forward)

 Shawne Williams  (forward for several NBA teams)

Posted by Observer Sports on June 30, 2010 at 02:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (34)

Chandler not terminating contract

The mega-free agent class being set loose Thursday will not include Charlotte Bobcats center Tyson Chandler. Chandler's agent, Jeff Schwartz, informed the Bobcats this morning that he's not exercising the option that would have allowed him to terminate his contract.

Had Chandler done so, he would have forfeited $12.6 million in order to test free-agency. The Bobcats, with about $59 million in payroll and determined not to pay luxury tax next season, might have welcomed the payroll relief.

Chandler flirting with terminating his contract made some sense, with so many teams having cleared cap space this summer and the uncertainty as to how the next collective bargaining agreement might affect future contracts. However, he's coming off an injury-filled season and the guaranteed money was seemingly just too much to forfeit.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 30, 2010 at 11:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (31)

June 25, 2010

Some post-draft thoughts

-- It's remarkable, in an arms-race kind of way, what the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls did the past few days to clear additional room under the salary cap.

First, the Heat gives away Daequan Cook -- a reasonably-priced, capable player -- and a first round pick to clear $3 million-plus in additional salary off its payroll.

That was the Chicago Bulls' cue to offer their first-round pick, plus cash, to a team willing to absorb Kirk Hinrich's contract. Hinrich makes a lot of money, but he's still a very capable player -- solid offensively, great defensively and able to play either guard spot -- and the Bulls were paying someone to accept him.
 Welcome to the Summer of LeBron.

The frenzy, the competitive zeal, is wild. And while I admire the dare-to-be-great approach various teams are taking, this will end badly for somebody. Remember when Orlando cleared all that cap space and ended up with Grant Hill's bad ankle and Tracy McGrady's bad attitude? Remember when Chicago cleared all that cap space and ended up being jilted by Eddie Jones and overpaying Ron Mercer?

A handful of teams are banking everything on the whims of five or so unrestricted free agents. That says two things: (1.) Quality always trumps quantity in winning an NBA title. (2.) If you take high-speed turns around a mountain road, realize you might slide off the mountain.

-- I was mildly surprised the Bobcats didn't pull off at least a second-round pick to get into the draft. But I do wonder this: In a draft that dropped off the table after about the eighth pick, is there so much difference between the 52nd pick and the guy who would have been drafted 61st? Maybe they just would have paid a premium for something they could already get for free.

-- I think Hassan Whiteside is really intriguing and not just because the Gastonia native is a local. Proven shotblocking is a huge plus in the NBA, where you can't hand-check the ballhandler as he goes to the rim. Sacramento getting this guy in the second round is such a steal.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 25, 2010 at 01:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (52)

2 interesting undrafted players

The Charlotte Bobcats ended Thursday just the way they started it -- with no draft picks. But here are two interesting names as the Bobcats assemble a summer-league roster:

Mikhail Torrance, Alabama point guard, and Jamar Smith, a scorer from Southern Indiana.

Torrance is a big point guard with defensive ability, the kind of guy Larry Brown values. I was really surprised he went undrafted.

Smith said before the draft that if he wasn't selected, the Bobcats would invite him to summer league. Brown wouldn't address that the other day, but he made it clear they like Smith a lot and expected him to be drafted.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 25, 2010 at 12:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (18)

June 24, 2010

Kings take Gastonia's Whiteside

I think the Sacramento Kings got a steal early in the second round, grabbing Marshall center (and Gastonia native) Hassan Whiteside. The kid needs a lot of work offensively, but he's such a shotblocker/rebounder.

He won't play much for now, with the Kings trading for Sam Dalembert and drafting Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins fifth overall. But that's good -- Whiteside needs time to develop. 

Posted by Observer Sports on June 24, 2010 at 10:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wallace on playing with Jackson

Wonderfully insightful quote from Gerald Wallace on the difference between Stephen Jackson's reputation and what it was like to play with him:

 "For me, he was a great teammate, one of those guys you love to have on your team. Someone you knew would do whatever he could to help you win,'' Wallace said during an appearance at the Charlotte Bobcats' open house.

"I sat down and talked with him plenty of times about the bad rep he has, how people talk about him. I told him point-blank, 'I don't see you as that person and the only way you're going to change their opinions is through your actions on the court and off the court.'

"He's a great leader of this team and he took the young guys under his wing. He told them he's not an example for them to follow (because) he did some things in the past that he wishes he hadn't done.''
 

Posted by Observer Sports on June 24, 2010 at 07:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (28)

June 23, 2010

Miami a logical Bobcats trade partner

Charlotte Bobvcats coach Larry Brown was saying the other day that several teams might trade out of the first round Thursday just to conserve space under the salary cap in anticipation of free-agency.

The Miami Heat made Brown's point Wednesday by swapping its first-round pick, plus Daequan Cook's $2.17 million salary, to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a second-round pick. Ridiculous as that sounds superficially -- trade a first and a player for a second? -- it makes perfect sense when you consider that cuts about $3 milllion off the Heat's 2010-11 payroll, as they attempt to retain Dwyane Wade and add another superstar free agent.

The Heat now has four second-round picks, so I assume Miami is a logical trade partner for the Bobcats. You'd think they'd want to swap one or more of those seconds for a future second on the simple logic you probably won't find roster spots for all four of those guys.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 23, 2010 at 10:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (37)

Shinn wants to keep Paul for his career

Since so many of you would love for the Charlotte Bobcats to somehow acquire Chris Paul, you should knew Hornets owner George Shinn just put out a statement attempting to kill all trade speculation.

Shinn said they want Paul to be a career-long Hornet and they're looking for ways to build a contender around him. Paul told espn.com he prefers to remain a Hornet, but needs to feel confident the Hornets are serious about contending.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 23, 2010 at 01:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Higgins: 1st round not out of question

Charlotte Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins said today not to dismiss the possibility the team could trade into the first round of Thursday's draft.

A couple of weeks ago, Higgins indicated a second-round pick seemed a more likely option. But they've been very active in all kinds of discussions of late.

It's common knowledge that several teams -- Miami and Chicago, for instance -- are open to trading out of the first round to avoid the guaranteed salary under the rookie pay scale. Those teams could be major players in the free-agent market, so conserving space under the salary cap is a priority.

Higgins said they're committed to making Tyrus Thomas a qualifying offer to restrict his free-agency. That's not a surprise -- Higgins had said before they were leaning in that direction.

Higgins declined to address speculation that Tyson Chandler might opt-out of the final season of his contract.I think the only way that makes sense is if the Bobcats were to offer him a new deal that trims his salary for next season but gives him long-term security.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 23, 2010 at 11:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (12)

June 22, 2010

Some thoughts entering the draft

   Five things worth considering for the NBA draft:

1. You know we have a local, right?
 Marshall center Hassan Whiteside grew up in Gastonia and was schooled at the Patterson School. The kid probably needed more training, but he'll be a first-round pick and you should root for him. He's a springy shotblocker (Marcus Camby-type). Anyone who can average about five blocks and nine boards in Division I is a player. He competed quite well against West Virginia, who you might remember was a Final Four team.

2. Indiana, Houston and Minnesota are the keys:

They all want to make trades, and the NBA draft has become about commodities. Stay tuned.

3. DeMarcus Cousins will be...

A Sacramento King. Unless Wes Johnson slips. Sam Dalembert is immaterial to what the Kings do.

4. The Bobcats will end up with a second-round pick. I don't know that, but I strongly suspect that. Mostly because it's easy to acquire one, and the Bobcats would like to be in the party.

5. Long-shot prediction of the summer: Boris Diaw won't be a Bobcat in October.

 I might be wrong, but he's the only starter they would trade who would bring something they want.  

Posted by Observer Sports on June 22, 2010 at 11:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (16)

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