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October 05, 2010

Some post-camp thoughts on the roster

There's not a whole lot of intrigue over who will make the final roster of the Charlotte Bobcats. That's what happens when you enter training camp with so many guaranteed contracts, but that's typical for the NBA.

I'd say 12 roster spots were effectively settled before they ever arrived in Wilmington for training camp: D.J. Augustin, Derrick Brown, Kwame Brown, Boris Diaw, Gana Diop, Gerald Henderson, Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston, Dominic McGuire, Nazr Mohammed, Tyrus Thomas and Gerald Wallace.

Two others -- Matt Carroll and Eduardo Najera -- have expensive-enough guarantees that the team would be greatly reluctant to just cut one and swallow the contract. (And I think Carroll is valuable, because he's by far the best 3-point shooter on a team weak in that area.)

So there might be just one spot left on a maximum roster of 15, and if that's filled, it would almost certainly be a third point guard, either Javaris Crittenton or Sherron Collins.

With that in mind, some questions entering tonight's first exhibition in Cleveland (and, to anticipate a question some of you have asked, I don't think there's any way to watch that game in Charlotte):

Crittenton versus Collins? That's a tough one right now, because they're such a contrast in skills. Collins is more the classic point guard -- Larry Brown loves his decision-making -- but he has a weight problem after a pre-draft leg injury laid him up much of the spring and summer. Crittenton is the superior athlete and could play some shooting guard, too. Way too close to call.

Will injuries affect who makes this team? The injuries have surely complicated the process. Kwame Brown (severe ankle sprain) and Najera (sports hernia) have yet to practice at all and are weeks away. Livingston and Darius Miles have missed several practices to treat chronic knee injuries.

It's tough that the Bobcats have no opportunity to evaluate Najera, because I'd think that if they had to cut someone with a guarantee, he's the logical candidate. But that would be an awfully expensive decision to make without knowing if he might contribute.

What about this undrafted rookie, Matt Rogers? Don't be fooled by him playing in Division II. Based on what I've seen, he's going to be an NBA player; an athletic big man with good moves and a knack for shot-blocking.

The problem is he's a luxury on this team. If the NBA had a practice squad, like the NFL, Rogers would be a perfect candidate. But I doubt he makes a 15-man roster here. And even if the Bobcats sent Rogers to the D-League, he'd still count against that 15-man maximum.

Will Miles make the team? Again, doubtful. He's still an NBA player, but this team has so many other options at small and power forward. I don't know where Miles would play. 

Posted by Observer Sports on October 5, 2010 at 09:05 AM | Permalink

Comments

Rick,

This kid Matt rogers seems to me like a taller more athletic version of Jared Dudley. Maybe his Basketball IQ is not as great as Dudley, but he works hard and he does all the little things (Ala Louis Amundson), plus he is 6-11.

Eventhoug it might seems expensive, but I think it would be a great move to waive Najera and sign this kid to a minimum contract. Is like having a reliable big guy for $3.5M per year. That is not bad, plus the Bobcats would still be like $4M under the Luxury Tax.

Posted by: RobC | Oct 5, 2010 9:52:03 AM

I agree with RobC. Cut ties with Najera and find a place for Rogers. He is the kind of glue guy all teams need.

Posted by: James Reed | Oct 5, 2010 9:58:32 AM

RobC:
I'm not disputing your point. I think Rogers is a very intriguing project. But there's a question I always ask in these situations:

If this was your money, not Jordan's, and you were losing millions every year owning an NBA team, and you had to cut someone you still owe $5 million over two seasons to keep someone who is a project, and won't be in your rotation this season, would you do it?

Life is different when you're the one signing the checks.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Oct 5, 2010 10:01:33 AM

Who Cares!!!!!

Posted by: jd | Oct 5, 2010 10:23:04 AM

Rick-

Problem with that logic is that keeping Najera on the roster instead of someone who can both contribute in the games and in practice is a classic case of price vs. cost. Eduardo's deal is ugly but what's 2-4 more wins worth?
That's sort of my point about Brown reaching out to sign AI. A wildly popular player and the 'Cats could rack up some big merchandise sales and casual fan interest by signing him.
Any chance LB takes a late flyer on Iverson?

Posted by: ASChin | Oct 5, 2010 10:25:54 AM

If they feel like Matt Rogers is worth keeping and can contribute sooner than later, i say eat Najeras contract and try to sign him for cheap for 2 yrs. Nazr will be expiring at the end of the season as well. If they view him as a project then cut him.

Posted by: nucat | Oct 5, 2010 11:15:15 AM

A.I. is washed up, he has nothing in the tank. He can't even get a job in Europe playing, let alone the NBA. Let him go down in history as one of the most self centered, overrated athletes in history. Good riddance!!

Posted by: GoBobcats!!!! | Oct 5, 2010 11:21:16 AM

keep the division II kid with the skill set that no other big man has on this roster which is back to the basket offense and dont keep the fat point guard or the trigger happy point guard.

Posted by: the voice | Oct 5, 2010 11:23:38 AM

what about cutting livingston to keep Javaris Crittenton and collins, i mean how much do livingston will make the verteran min. and i doubt he plays moe than 50% of the games, another shaun may candidate, i like the way crittenton plays d and his is a great athlete and collins is a rookie who can play the pg and can shoot..do anybody knwo how much livingston was sign for?

Posted by: panthersaretheworst | Oct 5, 2010 11:36:54 AM

All the more reason to find a starting PG via a trade of Diaw and Najera. DJ is a reserve...period. He will (unfortunately) prove that very soon during preseason and (without an intervention) the early part of the regular season. Rogers has some promise and I'd like him here but only as a low $ contract. We need a 1. Diaw has value here and elsewhere but he's a luxury we cannot afford (when needing a 1 and 5 so badly).

Posted by: Bassman | Oct 5, 2010 11:41:53 AM

Thanks for the blog Rick!


To Rick and all of my fellow Bobcats fans out there: Go to this website http://channelsurfing.net/

It is a sports streaming website. I looked on there earlier and I see a "Charlotte at Cleavland" link. At 7 o'clock, click that link and you should be able to watch the game. Sometimes you have to wait 10 minutes after for the stream to show up.

Hope it helps! Ready for a good season.

Ben-

Posted by: Ben B | Oct 5, 2010 11:54:18 AM

Livingston makes $3.5M; that's why we can't cut him.

I agree that if Rogers is good enough to DEFINITELY be in our rotation we should drop Najera and sign him or even use the 15th spot on him. Otherwise, Najera is a good body to have at the end of the bench and also a veteran presence with lots of playoff experience in the locker room. Najera got 10+ minutes per game last year for a Mavericks team that is a far superior to the Cats.

Posted by: Cats_Fan | Oct 5, 2010 1:06:19 PM

Uhh, voice, that's absolutely NOT Rogers' game. He's a face-up center who shoots out to three-point range.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 5, 2010 1:54:29 PM

i still don't understand the livingston signing, we could have been a little more patience and found a healthier pg thru waivers, waisted money when this guy plays only 30-40 games this year tops.. bad pickup, i mean even kwame brown was cheaper.why so much for a unhealthly pg??

Posted by: panthersaretheworst | Oct 5, 2010 2:00:58 PM

yea i agree w/ livingston signing being a bad decision. We could have waited to pick someone else up later or if we thought one of the players from camp could contribute then we wouldn't have to make the tough calls of cutting a potentially good player. Plus was there a danger of livingston being signed by someone else?

About Rogers vs Najera, I say we keep whichever player has more upside, and i think that would be rogers. He should be pretty decent after this year and could be good for several years. Najera is here max 2 years and he has reached his ceiling.

Posted by: bunkombe | Oct 5, 2010 2:41:49 PM

I understand the concern over Najera, however right now he is not healthy, he is not a starter he really has a minimal place here. He more than likly will not even be active on gamedays. So he is no help on gamedays and no help in practice. I understand Ricks point of if its my money how would I see it. To answer it I WOULD CUT HIM. With Rogers at least I have someone I can groom for cheap, he wasnt drafted so I dont have to pay him draft pick money. So sign him for a year and benefit. Kwame is out, LB has already said Nazr and Diop cant run the floor at least this big guy can. As for scoring hell how often does DIOP score or even play. Just my opinion.

Posted by: David | Oct 5, 2010 5:39:50 PM

Livingston did look like a border-line All-Star in April of last year. If healthy, he provides us with exactly what we do not have, and that is a playmaking point guard with excellent court vision and decision-making. In those ways, he’s better than Felton and any other PG to wear a Cats uniform.

If a guy like that could play 40 minutes per game and be healthy for 82 games, he’s a steal at $3.5M. The question is how much should we discount due to his limited minutes per game and games available. I think we overpaid because of the health question marks but I think there's a legitimate chance he proves us wrong.

Posted by: Cats_Fan | Oct 5, 2010 5:51:56 PM

I have to agree with Rick on the Rogers situation. $5 million is a lot of money, whether your name is Michael Jordan or Joe Six-pack. Rogers would have to bring an immediate and significant contribution to the team to be worth throwing $5 mill into the trash can (plus whatever is paid to Rogers).

That said, Rick, how many games do you think Livingston will play this season, given what you have seen in camp and know about his injury status? Although Livingston is not as pricey, I am still having nightmares about Sean May and Tyson Chandler's seasons. "Chronic knee injuries" just sounds like a clear signal to look elsewhere for talent.

Posted by: QCKing | Oct 5, 2010 7:24:23 PM

this whole "who do we cut" debate is what drives me crazy about signing dominic mcguire. the guy better turn into a long term piece here but I just don't see how. we just gave a 5 year deal to thomas and seemingly found a gem in derrick brown last year in the 2nd round. where is mcguire going to get minutes behind those guys?

he had to of been signed just to make brown happy and give him something to keep him from getting bored but it just doesn't add up. nor does giving livingston 2 guarunteed years when his knee isn't guarunteed 2 weeks. najera has 2 years left on his deal. while it's less money, he's atleast capable of contributing while diop is an absolute waste. maybe he pulls a nazr and regains younger form but even then he was a shotblocker and nothing more.

if we really need the roster spot that bad (which for the names mentioned here as replacements we def. don't) then diop would be the guy. at this point we should carry 15, keep crittenton and keep collins and rogers on speed dial. see if diop or najera can do anything at all to be worth keeping and if not eat one of the contracts. if livingston isn't healthy enough to go, you get the injury waiver from the league to atleast open up the roster spot.

imagine if we had traded boris AND DJ for devin harris. we would have worse payroll issues and no backup pg and no point forward so to speak unless someone throws mcguire's unproven name into the hat. thank god we didn't.

Posted by: charlottean | Oct 5, 2010 10:03:22 PM

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