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April 25, 2011

NBA calendar works for Higgins

I’m off this week, but wanted to pass on something I raised with Charlotte Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins recently:

          To the best of Higgins’ knowledge, there’s nothing about the specter of an NBA lockout that would preclude him from dealing away or acquiring a veteran leading up to, or during the draft.

          Rod was a bit taken aback I’d ask the question, until I mentioned that’s different from what Marty Hurney, Higgins’ counterpart with the Carolina Panthers, is experiencing. If Hurney wanted to trade out of that No. 1 overall spot in Thursday’s NFL draft, he could accept only draft picks – not existing player contracts.

          Higgins knows of no such restrictions on what he could do, and that speaks to the difference in the two leagues’ calendars. The NFL holds its draft long after its season ends, and AFTER its free-agency period would have begun, if not for this lockout.

          The NBA holds its draft shortly after the end of its playoffs (June 23 this year). Free-agency wouldn’t begin until July (and won’t, unless there’s a miracle agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement). But in the meantime – the span leading up to the draft – it’s business-as-usual, as far as Higgins knows.

          That could be important, because the Bobcats have two first-round picks: Their own (a lottery pick – mostly likely ninth or 10th – that will be determined May 17) and the 19th pick (from New Orleans, via Portland).

          Maybe the best thing is to keep those picks, but if I’m the Bobcats I’m working the phones – looking for young veterans or to unload a bad contract – and one or both of those picks might be more valuable as a commodity.

          At least that option exists in a way Hurney can’t explore with the same spectrum of options this week.

Posted by Observer Sports on April 25, 2011 at 02:12 PM | Permalink

Comments

Rick,

I'm sorry. I totally don't understand this post. Can you back up a bit and explain why this matters? Why would Higgins be taken aback by the question?

Posted by: long | Apr 25, 2011 2:18:38 PM

long:
Thanks. Sometimes when you're in the middle of something, it makes it harder, rather than easier, to explain:
The NFL and NBA are both facing lockouts. I was reading so much about things the NFL couldn't do (and this applied specifically to the Panthers, since they have the No. 1 pick and a brand-new head coach).
So as I was wrapping up the season, I thought I should ask Higgins if there's anything about an impending lockout that the NBA had told him he couldn't do. Just covering my bases, since they're trying to shake up their mix at a time when the league could be pretty much shut down for months, if not an entire season.
When Rod said there were no such conditions, I thought I should pass that along to the reader, since it's so different from how Hurney and Co., must approach the NFL draft.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Apr 25, 2011 2:28:20 PM

This blog matters why?

Posted by: JD | Apr 25, 2011 2:41:24 PM

JD:
Well, how about because it affects the rules under which you could or could not make a trade?

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Apr 25, 2011 2:56:49 PM

Thanks for the update Rick! Talking about bad contracts...Is there anything the Bobcats can do to derminate Diop's contract? I hear he will still be out for a while. Even if the insurance picks up his salary it still counts against our cap space, right?

Posted by: frankie83 | Apr 25, 2011 2:58:33 PM

Rick, JD was just being an a** as usual...no need to feed the troll....

Posted by: therealJD | Apr 25, 2011 3:58:00 PM

frankie83:
Are you a great salesman? Because if so, you should apply to the Bobcats front office. He's owed roughly $7 million next season. Now let's say -- hypothetically -- that a team might want Diop once he's healthy. You know when that will happen? December...maybe February...an Achilles rupture is up there among things you never want to hear about in a basketball player.
Gana is a great guy. He has massive size and -- coincidentally -- Silas likes him from his time in Cleveland. But if he was an NFL player, he would have been cut a long time ago. In the NBA, you're much more responsible for living with your mistakes.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Apr 25, 2011 4:46:43 PM

Rick,

Do you know what the Bobcats' salary cap numbers look like? Obviously Wallace, Nazr, and Pryzbilla coming off the books will help with the numbers.

2012 is shaping up nicely with Diaw and Najera coming off the books-though I bet Diaw gets traded before the deadline next year.

Looking ahead even further, a couple of albatross contracts come off the books-Carroll and Diop, as well as Jackson.

Posted by: steve | Apr 25, 2011 8:03:39 PM

Steve, we're probably not in as good a shape as you might think. For next year, we've already committed nearly $50 mil to just 10 players (those numbers don't include Brown, Cunningham, or McGuire, if you're interested in bringing them back.) After signing our three draft picks, we're not likely to have much room for any kind of an impact free agent barring a trade. Think more along the lines of the Steven Grahams and Othella Harringtons of the world. YAY!

Posted by: Michael Procton | Apr 26, 2011 12:19:48 AM

Steve:
Try 2013: Carroll's and Diop's options in the summer of 2012 are theirs, not the Bobcats'. You think they'll decline those options? No. That's nearly $11M in salary obligation in a shrinking-cap environment.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Apr 26, 2011 12:28:06 AM

can buyouts be made to diaw, or gana, carroll.. just asking, maybe that could be a scenario, i see a nice trade say agustin, diaw for paul and okafor since the hornets might possibly loose paul and get nothing..what do you guys think of that trade scenario?

Posted by: youngpanthernation | Apr 26, 2011 9:31:52 AM

Hey Rick, I was wondering, being that memphis is playing great with out Rudy Gay, and the signing of Zack Randolph and the pending signing of Gasol, do you think MJ will go out and try and get Gay, do think Memphis would trade him?

Posted by: Deon | Apr 26, 2011 10:12:44 AM

Carroll's and Diop's options in the summer of 2012 are theirs, not the Bobcats'. <<<<<< I didn't know this....great, now we're gonna suck forever :( :( :( Well, there goes my fantasy of CP3 and Dwight playing for Charlotte.....

Posted by: therealJD | Apr 26, 2011 12:23:34 PM

although you can never be certain that higgins knows what he's talking about, it sounds accurate.

that being said, we should be keeping diaw and letting his contract expire this year. now that we don't have wallace, we don't have a cap crunch like we did. if we move diaw, we should be getting great value for him. his contract is high but expiring. the guy is worth 5 million easy as a role player. there aren't many guys that have the skill set he does. we would be better suited keeping him long term around that 5 million mark and having him in a reduced role as one of these young guys takes over for him.

if there is no STUD pick at one of these slots that we absolutely love, we should definitely be trying to package diop in with one of the picks to reduce the damage that his contract does. it was a dead weight contract BEFORE his injury, now it's worse. we would need the guy to retire for it to become a non-issue and I highly doubt that's happening because of how young he is and because he says his rehab has gone well.

we have great young talent, we just need a young ACE to take over for jackson over the next 2 years and we need a stud center. kwame COULD hypothetically be that, but It's hard to gauge at this point. too much sample size saying the contrary and not enough consistency this year to be sure. but definitely worth bringing back.

problem is....higgins will probably go and overpay the guy ala david kahn with darko.

augustin/livingston
hendo/carroll/draft pick
jackson/cunningham*/draft pick
diaw/thomas/white
brown/draft pick

is a pretty solid looking group going into next year. if we can draft 2 centers and one of them pan out, kwame and cunningham be retained and then somehow some way end up with a harrison barnes or jared sullinger next year......then we're talking about being contenders. legit contenders.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 26, 2011 3:53:27 PM

I suggest a package of diaw/diop/dj/carroll for ellis/biedrins or diaw/diop for kaman/cook. I prefer the ellis trade scenario. On average, most NBA starting guards are 6'3" in height and ellis is a top 10 scorer who can defend and create for himself.

Posted by: Larry | Apr 26, 2011 6:17:20 PM

Monta Ellis is a proven loser, thanks but what has he done except look for his own shot? Defense? He may get steals but he cant guard big guards and nearly every guard in the league is bigger than him. Ellis has Iverson tendencies

Posted by: Your Mom | Apr 27, 2011 8:51:41 AM

Iverson went to the finals and won a league MVP. Would that be the worst thing to happen to this franchise?

Posted by: tom P | Apr 27, 2011 12:37:43 PM

Thanks for the explanation, Rick.

Maybe we should get a girl on the team, like they did in the 80s. :-) People seem to be going crazy over the Diggins girl from Notre Dame.

Grapevine has been saying that we might trade Stephen Jackson in the off-season. It will be interesting, no doubt.

Someone mentioned us trying to get Ron Artest, what do you think about that? I was against it at first, but I am not sure it is a bad idea now.

Posted by: long | Apr 27, 2011 1:03:20 PM

You guys have to understand how salary implications work in NBA trades.

Diop is untradeable. Forget about trading him. Just forget it.

Posted by: DooWayne | Apr 27, 2011 1:29:53 PM

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