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September 15, 2010

A fresh take on Dampier and pickup-game observations

First off, I have a story that sheds some new light on why the Bobcats went ahead and waived Erick Dampier, rather than keep trolling for a trade:

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/09/16/1695588/source-dampier-was-a-13-million.html

You can argue if you choose to that the risk of Dampier suffering a season-ending injury in the next two weeks is minimal. However, I can sure see why the stakes -- having to pay $13 million in salary and potentially $7 million more in luxury tax -- would push them to go ahead and waive Dampier.

Anyway, I was over at the arena Wednesday, watching some pickup games among about 10 Bobcats, plus some other players (most notably, former All-Star Antoine Walker). Some quick observations:

-- Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins said Walker is playing pick-up at the invitation of former Kentucky teammate (and Charlotte center) Nazr Mohammed, and fans shouldn't view this as a prelude to Walker being in the Bobcats' training camp. I will say Walker looked good; he needs a comeback after some financial setbacks, and clearly is back in shape.

-- Higgins said former lottery pick Darius Miles, with the Bobcats in preparation for summer league in July, is welcome at training camp. However, Higgins emphasized Miles hasn't yet signed any contract with the Bobcats.

-- Power forward Tyrus Thomas looks in tremendous shape; looks like he's trimmed any spare weight over the summer (not that he ever looked chunky). Thomas made the best play I saw Wednesday, a look-away, one-handed pass out of the post to Walker, setting up an easy driving layup.

-- Ex-Bobcat Larry Hughes participated in the pickup games Tuesday, although I wonder if there's any room for him on Charlotte's roster. The team is pretty deep at shooting guard with guaranteed contracts to Stephen Jackson, Gerald Henderson and Matt Carroll.

-- Once-and-again Bobcat Carroll is still a big-time long-range shooter, and 3-point range obviously wasn't a Bobcats strength last season. I forgot how little rotation Carroll uses on his jump-shot. You can almost read the logos as his shot settles through the rim.

-- Four Bobcats -- Jackson, Boris Diaw, Gana Diop and Eduardo Najera -- weren't in the gym Wednesday. I'm told Jackson has been playing a lot, and should be back for pickup games Thursday.

Posted by Observer Sports on September 15, 2010 at 04:54 PM | Permalink

Comments

We should sign Toine!! Great understudy off the bench, we could always use a vet with championship experience.

Posted by: Devante | Sep 15, 2010 5:47:57 PM

Yes, nothing will help push us to another .500 season and first-round embarrassment like mediocre retreads like Walker and Miles. Thanks, Larry! You doubled our payroll for ten wins worth of improvement and no chance at making a move to get us a win in the playoffs, much less getting out of the first round, even in the awful East.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Sep 15, 2010 6:25:55 PM

The bobcats already have the most dead weight in the league on their roster. Adding either Walker or Miles would take it to a whole new level of suck. I had some hope for this organization when MJ took over, if anyone could save pro basketball in Charlotte he could... but the moves this offseason (lack thereof) have already shaken my faith. No direction, no financial flexibility, no good young players... they're the anti-Bickerstaffs. Where are their heads at? What are they thinking? The basketball world has no clue.

Posted by: David | Sep 15, 2010 6:38:03 PM

Walker is and always has been a guy that gives 110%. Just because the media hated on him doesn't mean he doesn't work hard.

It amazes me how if the media says something every tom dick and harry finds it as fact. I watched walker play for years in Boston and he was always a hard worker and a class act. Just because the media makes a living on picking and choosing who the bad guys are and aren't doesn't mean these people are actually like that.

Posted by: Jai Taylor | Sep 15, 2010 7:37:46 PM

s-t-f-u procto.

Posted by: keyman32 | Sep 15, 2010 8:14:26 PM

Is that Michael Procton? The same Michael Procton? The same Michael Procton who used to brag about how we'd never make the playoffs? Now you're mad that we did? Well, I have to give it to you MP, you really don't mind going down with that sinking ship do you?

Posted by: JC | Sep 15, 2010 8:15:02 PM

How did Kwame Brown look? Namely, did he look like he was back in shape (Reports at the time of his signing said he needed to drop a couple pounds).

Posted by: Mike | Sep 15, 2010 8:39:06 PM

Is Shaun Livingston playing pickup games? How does he look?

Posted by: Jared Ross | Sep 15, 2010 9:13:41 PM

Thanks for the info, Rick. Helps with the summer doldrums. BTW - Would much rather see a motivated Walker on the team than Dominic McGuire.

Posted by: Zed | Sep 15, 2010 9:15:52 PM

Time for the mighty Diop to start earning that dough! I'm glad to think that with this move, the Cats can get down to business and start gelling as a team. Looks like we have a real NBA squad with out any glaring holes....let's get that 8th spot! Would having Miami in town for another 2 games be that bad?

Posted by: HPCatFan | Sep 15, 2010 10:15:29 PM

YAH, 12th in the East, here we come. Who's playing pg and center?

Posted by: JC | Sep 16, 2010 12:07:35 AM

whats your best guess on the final roster rick? if im not mistaken we have 15 guys under contract, with collins and d brown unguaranteed. im guessing collins makes it as the 3rd point guard, esp with livingston's injury history. any chance miles or maybe walker takes brown's spot?

Posted by: bronsyn | Sep 16, 2010 2:09:35 AM

Bronsyn:
Regardless of his contract status, I'd find it close to inconceivable Brown fails to make this team. He was really impressive in summer league, and while that can sometimes be misleading, it reflects how serious he is about making it.
The guy is in exceptional shape and I've never heard anything -- from coaches, teammates or management -- to suggest Derrick Brown is anything but a keeper.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Sep 16, 2010 9:25:26 AM

he's geralds future replacement, if they let him go i quit.

Posted by: charlottean | Sep 16, 2010 9:56:32 AM

Just when I thought things couldn't get worse Procton returns.

Posted by: apauldds | Sep 16, 2010 9:59:00 AM

Rick,

Is any consideration being given to re-signing Flip Murray? He practically begged to re-sign here at the end of last season. Given the health issues at PG, I think Murray would be a good backup option.

Posted by: J | Sep 16, 2010 10:23:31 AM

J:
Well, first off, Flip didn't do anything like beg to come back here. I know because I asked him the question. He said he'd be very receptive to coming back if they wanted him, as would any sensible player whose contract was expiring.
Would Flip help? Sure. But I think the last thing the Bobcats need is another guaranteed contract for another shooting guard. Stephen Jackson, Gerald Henderson and Matt Carroll. I think they're pretty set, if not overstocked at that spot.
And while Flip can play some point in a pinch, he's not primarily a playmaker.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Sep 16, 2010 10:49:23 AM

DJ/Livingston/Collins has real potential. It could also be a colossal failure. Time will tell. To me this is the biggest gamble of the offseason.

There are so many "ifs" for this team at PG.

If DJ gets out of his slump.
If Livingston's knee holds up.
If Collins plays to his potential.

Yeah it would be nice to have Dwight Howard in the middle but I think we will be fine with the Nazr/Kwame combo with Diop getting garbage minutes. I could see us picking up a Theo Ratliffe type at the trade deadline like we did last year.

Posted by: apauldds | Sep 16, 2010 11:47:53 AM

Mike:
Not sure whether Kwame was heavy when he signed, but he looked in just fine condition Thursday. He made some nice, quick moves in the post to score. Nothing fancy, but the ball kept falling through the rim.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Sep 16, 2010 1:52:45 PM

I have to admit the direction that the Bobcats are heading looks very uncertain
to me.

Now they have no real backup point guard, and it appears the center position is probably the biggest question mark.

Hope I am wrong, but it might be a very long season.

Posted by: John Fidler | Sep 16, 2010 7:28:45 PM

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