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August 23, 2010

Don't confuse this signing with a do-over

I'm using some vacation time to tend to two elderly parents (thanks, Ron Green Jr., for filling in), but when I heard about the Bobcats signing Kwame Brown, I figured I'd blog in:

Some thoughts:

-- Again this is one more indication the Bobcats will eventually waive Erick Dampier's contract to off-load about $13 million in salary responsibility. Sorry if that ticks some of you off (I know you want Dampier to be a trade chip), and they certainly gave up an asset in Tyson Chandler.

However, it's no surprise. The day Michael Jordan was formally introduced as majority owner he predicted they'd have to make a trade that wouldn't be good basketball-wise, but would have to be done, payroll-management wise. This was that deal.

They haven't waived Dampier yet because he hasn't cost them anything. But barring a miraculous deal that both solves their luxury-tax problems and improves their roster, Dampier seems destined to be waived.

They wouldn't continue to sign complementary free agents unless they intended to dump that big contract. You don't need an economics degree to figure that.

-- Jordan has told various confidantes that one of his frustrations with Kwame Brown was remarkably small hands that limited him offensively inside. Obviously the expectations are a lot lower now. I bet Nazr Mohammed (barring a trade) is the opening-day starter at center.

-- Please don't fancy this as Jordan's effort at rectifying a mistake. Taking Brown No. 1 way back when for the Wizards had little, if anything, to do with signing him as a free agent for a modest salary now.

Brown has become a journeyman. He's a viable defensive big man, so he can supply some of what they lost trading away Chandler. Larry Brown always wants several options inside. I'm confident this is much more about placating Larry Brown (who can't be pleased they traded Chandler for little more than payroll relief) than about any misguided sense Kwame Brown will suddenly become a difference-maker.

Posted by Observer Sports on August 23, 2010 at 08:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (46)

August 03, 2010

Back to Wilmington for camp

-- So the Bobcats are headed back to UNC-Wilmington for training camp, after spending last preseason at home at Time Warner Cable Arena to save money.

In one sense, this makes great sense: Coach Larry Brown prefers to get his team out of town for camp and former Bobcats executive Buzz Peterson (one of owner Michael Jordan's best friends) now coaches UNC-Wilmington And there's the obvious connection that Jordan grew up in Wilmington.

Still, I didn't notice any disadvantage last season to holding camp at the arena training facility. And since they're still working to pay the bills, I guess I agreed with Jordan last summer that going out of town was an unnecessary expense. (I felt very differently about them not fielding a summer-league team; it was a predictable mistake that hurt rookies Gerald Henderson and Derrick Brown).

-- A couple of you have contacted me, either by email or in comments under recently blogs, expressing disappointment that the Bobcats haven't done more to improve the roster. You have the right to feel however you want, but I'd argue you can expect only so much as they undo previous mistakes.

Jordan doesn't give a lot of interviews, but I give him this: When he speaks, it's with candor. He met with several beat writers the day he was introduced as controlling owner. I asked him off the top about the payroll fix they're in, and Jordan was open in saying they might have to do a deal that makes little sense basketball-wise but great sense in terms of payroll management. That deal was Tyson Chandler for Erick Dampier's unguaranteed contract.

I don't blame Jordan for refusing to pay luxury tax for a team competing just to make the playoffs. I like the Shaun Livingston signing, after talking to people in the Wizards organization, and I see improvement in Henderson and Brown.

I don't think they're better than last season, but I also don't think they're worse. And, barring major injuries, I don't think it will be dramatically harder to reach the playoffs this coming season than it was last season.

Posted by Observer Sports on August 3, 2010 at 08:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (97)