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February 01, 2013

Higgins letter: Bobcats can be $20 million under cap next summer, ready to target max-level free agents

            Charlotte Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins emailed a letter to season-ticket holders this week, asking the team’s customers to renew for next season.

            Higgins made several points about where the Bobcats stand in their rebuilding efforts. Most of those were covered in Higgins’ and general manager Rich Cho’s midseason interview with the Observer: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/01/19/3798659/bobcats-say-team-is-open-to-make.html

            But here’s a specific from Higgins’ email regarding the salary cap and free-agency that I found interesting: Higgins said this summer the Bobcats should have “upwards of $20 million to spend on players,’’ offering the chance to “add the best free agents possible, including max-level players that may be available.’’

            The Bobcats did chase free agents last summer, and ended up with point guard Ramon Sessions. Sessions and Kemba Walker have been the most productive Bobcats the first half of this season. Sessions has been a bargain at a total $10 million this season and next.

            Higgins also pursued veteran power forwards Kris Humphries and Antawn Jamison. Humphries re-signed with the Nets and Jamison passed on a Charlotte homecoming to chase a title with the Lakers.

            Obviously the Bobcats need help inside – rebounders and post scorers, either at power forward or center. Cho said in that Observer interview the team would definitely address the rebounding problem, whether at the trade deadline or over the summer.

    There are some intriguing free agents at those positions starting in July. Atlanta’s Josh Smith, Indiana’s David West, Portland’s J.J. Hickson and Utah’s Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson are all unrestricted free agents. Minnesota center Nikola Pekovic is a restricted free agent on a team already paying big for Kevin Love and planning for how to pay point guard Ricky Rubio down the road.

            Would any of those guys sign with the Bobcats? No telling, but Higgins' email suggests the cap space and will are in place to make a pitch or two.  

Posted by Observer Sports on February 1, 2013 at 05:46 PM | Permalink


BRING BACK THE BUZZ......STOP MESSING AROUND AND DO WHAT 90 Percent of Carolina wants or continue having no fans show up WIN OR LOSE.

Posted by: CharlotteHornets | Feb 1, 2013 5:54:06 PM

They sold out the year we went to the playoffs when we were named to bobcats so we have fans when we win...

Posted by: Spaceman mike | Feb 1, 2013 6:25:34 PM

Not 1 upper to mid-level free agent wants to come here when we're struggling to win 20 games a year. We can only hope to trade and draft well to become a playoff contender. The Hornets had the same problem here, we didn't land 1 marquee free agent. All our good players were drafted or acquired via trade. Doesn't matter how much $ we have or that Jordan is the owner, major players don't wanna come here. We couldn't draw Chris Paul or even freakin Antawn Jamison, even with their local ties!

Posted by: jrguyiii | Feb 1, 2013 7:10:36 PM

90% want the Hornets? Do you know how many people have moved into Charlotte since the Hornets left? How many people have moved out? How many kids there are that have never heard of the Hornets? These bring back the buzz jokers are absolutely clueless.

Posted by: Steve | Feb 1, 2013 7:17:28 PM

Keep drafting well. 2 players int the rising stars game is a good sign.

Posted by: David | Feb 1, 2013 7:19:48 PM

@jrguyiii-Most everyone want the Hornets name back. That's just the way it is man. Everybody knows it.

Posted by: motionflow | Feb 1, 2013 8:17:08 PM

Wait a minute, I thought CHO was in charge?

Posted by: Sider S. | Feb 1, 2013 8:36:52 PM

I am one of the many who doesn't want the Hornets name back nor do I want any of the prune patrol "coming back" to the games. I was their the first night and many after. I cherish my Hornets memories but when they left so did our association with that team name. The Hornets name is not to Charlotte what the Browns were to Cleveland. They had generations of years...we had two decades. And since the Bobcats arrival many of us got behind the franchise win or lose. Many of those prune patrol members stayed away because of their many excuses (arena, racist hiring practices, lack of country/oldies music, etc.) and have done nothing but complain. They went to Hornets games just like they do Panther games...arrived late and left early. they complain about fans standing in front of them as if we were standing in front of their TV at home. So keep the Cats name or go maybe name the team the Flight! But please allow us fans who have supported from the very beginning to enjoy OUR team the BOBCATS in peace and let the prune patrol stay home and listen to 1110AM and complain about everything as normal.

Posted by: Roger | Feb 1, 2013 8:38:19 PM

Hey Sider S....if some PR guy from a team makes a comment about what their team is doing does that mean he is in charge? I guess now whoever talks about anything that means they are in charge. Good to know. You must be in charge of making idiotic statements.

Posted by: Spencer | Feb 1, 2013 9:00:04 PM

I received the email. References the 20 million in cap space, 4 first round picks over the next 2 years, investments in scouting and player development among others things. Encouraging.

Posted by: Robert | Feb 1, 2013 9:10:20 PM

So..if the name changes to Hornets, will that help us rebound?

I'm all for the name change but come on ppl, lets talk about the subject at hand and stop with the whining about the name...

Ideally, Al Jefferson and a swingman would look nice if we can get rid of Tyrus and Diop this summer. Not sure Hendo will ever be a 20 ppg SG/SF in the league, may be better suited to come off the bench. Assuming Gordon opts to stay next year and Kemba continues to improve then the backcourt should be fine. MVG has shown to be as versatile as advertised but IMO, we can't have Mullens shooting 3s all the time. Our rebounding is weak enough so we can't afford to have our only 7 footer on the perimeter.

I still believe in Cho and think he can pull off some deals to get this team headed forward

Posted by: Bobcat Terry | Feb 1, 2013 9:23:51 PM

Really. What free agent or better his agent would think about coming here? It's well known in the league that the Cats don't take care of their own. Ask WALLCE,JAX,FELTON,DIAW AND TYSON. .. They all were mistreated and dog the Cats. Then you have the agents who hate Mj for his role against the players in the lockout. They vowed to give him nothing. Not one mid level guy signed. You must draft or trade. Look how Henderson is being done. All his yr guys got paid. Then they bring in 3 clowns to split time w him so its impossible to get a rhythm . The draft is weak. They won't have any impact and be worth he wait. Less impact than Mkg who's good . Make trades. It's the only way. Henderson should play 38 minutes and get easy buckets fed to him. Lobs, back doors , alley oops and off the pick n roll. Get an owner that will spend money. You have to overpay to play. Play Mkg too. Both play defense . Just get hem easy buckets whc Kemba or Sessions won't do. Trade for a big that can score nd play d. Nothing's in the draft except Zeller.

Posted by: Iron man | Feb 1, 2013 9:38:12 PM

How in the world did the Bobcats end up with Higgins? As GM with the Wizards he had ZERO winning seasons and only one winning season with the Warriors going 42-40 when they hired Don Nelson as coach. And don't forget his son is an important component of this franchise as a bench warmer!!!

Posted by: Brandruss | Feb 1, 2013 10:26:00 PM

Brandruss: Higgins' son plays for the Bobcats? That's news to me. (That's also sarcasm for you. Cory Higgins does not sit on the bench for the Bobcats.)

Posted by: tcrudisi | Feb 1, 2013 11:01:33 PM

Hush all you li'l punkies, it will be HORNETS or CATS....not the BOBjohnsonpussycats. Get used to it. Anything without bob is better.

Posted by: Big Bad John | Feb 1, 2013 11:03:54 PM

The Bobcats HAD a playoff team in Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Tyson Chandler, Boris Diaw, Tyrus Thomas, Felton Spencer, DJ Augustin, and even Derrick Brown. The Bobcats were the 7th seed and all they had to do was add some more pieces to the puzzle.
But NOOOOOOOO, let's just toss a playoff team away and be forever locked in as the WORST NBA team in the league year after year. Nothing is going to change. No one is getting signed with all of that spare change. No one wants to play for a losing franchise that does NOT take care of its players.
The fools that thought it was a good idea to break up a playoff team years ago...you still think it was a good idea? Yeah, build through the draft and we might earn the 7th seed again...in 2020!

Posted by: Scorpion | Feb 2, 2013 12:13:46 AM

OOPS...I meant Raymond Felton.

Posted by: Scorpion | Feb 2, 2013 12:14:53 AM

News flash, that team you listed above is no playoff team. Horrible team,, pressed against the cap with multiple players at the end of their career. The best idea they ever had was breaking up that team built on the meddling of Larry Brown. It might have been their only good idea so far.

Posted by: Mamba | Feb 2, 2013 2:47:19 AM

Sorry but none of those free agents excite me and don't deserve max level contracts. I'd love to have Jamison finish his career here and I feel like that's basically in the bag, given the year the lakers are having. And I like David west, but again not a max level guy and he won't come here. As much as I love this team (name change or not) I unfortunately agree that the players and agents see this as a broken franchise. I think cho has us in the right direction, we just need to ride it out. Honestly, I'd love to see Higgins and cho find out what it would take to pry Kevin love from Minnesota. Given the fact that its come out multiple times that he's not happy with the direction of that team, and he's hurt, I'm willing to bet the twolves would listen to offers, as they may lose him for nothing down the road. We have draft picks and big contracts we can trade that will come off the books soon and would be valuable to them. K love, to me, is a rare special talent who is regularly among the league leaders in scoring and rebounding, you can't tell me that's not what we need now...a big that can score and rebound.

I agree, trade and draft is the only way we'll be able to get this team back to the playoffs.

Posted by: Justin | Feb 2, 2013 6:37:14 AM

Cho will build this franchise he will. A man of wisdom is he. Listen to him you must MJ. Use the foce he will.

Posted by: Yoda | Feb 2, 2013 7:31:08 AM

CHARLOTTE HORNETS 2.0 coming 2013-14. lets get the buzz back where it belongs

Posted by: brendan | Feb 2, 2013 8:02:59 AM

Not sure why my first response is no longer posted but, I'll post my thoughts again.

If your new to Charlotte and have no clue why Charlotte is the Hornets Nest, why our police officers wear a Hornets Nest badge, or why the highest honor in Charlotte is called the " Order of the Hornet"

The Hornest name is more appropriate for Charlotte and even our Mayor has publicly said as much.

@Roger- you don't want the name back because old people will come to games? prune patrol- lmao! I'm 35 and can't wait to have our name back many people in my age group grew up on the Hornets and now have the income to buy tickets.

I cant wait for Hugo to fly home to Charlotte.

Posted by: Season Ticket Holder | Feb 2, 2013 8:21:49 AM

@Roger- You scream to keep YOUR BOBCATS but are ok with the team being renamed the Flight? You make little to no sense.

Ready for the Hornets return home!

Posted by: Fraser | Feb 2, 2013 8:58:17 AM

1. Here is one season ticket holder vote against the hornets. This town has changed so much, it would not matter to a large number of people making it a useless exercise, might as well change to another name.

2. Received the email. Sure sounds like the way OKC approaches it. Cho's fingerprints are all over it. They were not taking this approach before he got here. I would not have had that email come from Higgins. Unsolicited advice. The team has been terrible under his watch.

3. Once Mullens gets back, go back to the rotation that won this team some games early in the year.

4. Trade Henderson for another pick if possible.

5. Draft Anthony Bennett. Need some explosive athletes on tis team.

Posted by: Real Customer | Feb 2, 2013 9:01:48 AM

@real customer- I'm ok with points 2-5 that u made.

As to point 1, what does the city changing mean? Is Charlotte no longer the Hornets Nest? Did the Police officers change their badges? Did the Charlotte Mecklenburg flag take the Hornets Nest off? Is the "Order of the Hornet" no longer the highest honor given in Charlotte? The Hornet & Hornets nest is embedded into the fabric and culture of Charlotte.

To change to any name other than Hornets would be like drafting Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan... If you have an opportunity for a slam dunk, you don't pull up for a half court shot.

Charlotte Hornets forever!

Posted by: Season Ticket Holder | Feb 2, 2013 9:55:47 AM

Bobcats have kemba, gilcrest, jeff taylor and mullens. All we have to do is draft anthony bennett, zeller or noel this year. Also, sign a power forward or center this summer, trade henderson and diop for a power forward or center at the trade deadline. And here is the great news, the 2014 draft will be loaded with about 4 franchise type players and we should get 1 of them, like wiggins, parker. And then the bobcats will be a playoff team for many years to come. Stick with CHO, fire higgins and the bobcats will be winners in a couple of years.

Posted by: thomas | Feb 2, 2013 10:05:22 AM

Tyrus & Diop ain't going anywhere, nobody will take 'em and MJ is too cheap to amnesty anyone.

Buttfumble was a 7-pick and can't catch a ball, thousands of 7 year old girls in Indiana have a better offensive repertoires.

Despite an incredible work ethic our coach is the lowest paid in the NBA and entirely over-matched, only hired because he was the cheapest option.

We are 18-94 since start of Kemba Era and show no signs of gaining ground, but rather we are getting worse, no team in the NBA has fewer wins in Kemba Era, or this year.

The front office is run by a committee of buffoons that are the laughingstock of the NBA.

Our owner is probably the least wealthy of all NBA owners.

Like the Dallas Mavericks experienced, until this owner is ushered out and replaced with someone who knows what is going on, we will lose.

FYI, in 12 years prior to Mark Cuban getting involved the Mavericks made one playoff appearance and lost in 1st round...

...since he bought the team in 2000 they have NEVER missed the playoffs, had 2 Finals appearances, and won a title!

Coincidence? I think not...

Posted by: Spider S. | Feb 2, 2013 12:54:17 PM

It's great that the Bobcats will have that extra cap money to work with. Now they just need to use it wisely and pay the guys that deserve it, and not overpay someone like Tyrus Thomas.

Posted by: PantherDave | Feb 2, 2013 12:57:04 PM

Guess I will need to take a closer look at our police badges. At least criminals know about the hornet. That should help the bobcats.

Took Cuban 11 years to win a title. MJ is 3 years in. Nice comparison.

Know one has to take Tyrus or Diop. Diops contract expires after this year and Tyrus will be amnestied.

Posted by: Real Customer | Feb 2, 2013 1:16:27 PM

They have ~40.5 million committed BEFORE qualifying offers to henderson and mullens. So they are either saying "we won't be tendering offers to either" or "we will definitely amnesty thomas this summer" or "we are going to do henderson and mullens exactly how we did augustin and brown last summer"

That last option cannot be good for players wanting to sign here as free agents. That 1st option cannot be good. I'm not against amnesty of thomas, but we still have to pay him and he's ALMOST tradeable. If we amnesty him and fail to sign someone else of 8 mil + value.....it actually may hurt us in future salary moves over the last 2 years of his deal.

We don't need a name change or another big in free agency. We need higgins to go, a great draft pick, and more patience from the fans.

Posted by: charlottean | Feb 2, 2013 2:29:35 PM

Augustine is on the bench in Indy and If Brown is in the league he has not made a sound. "They did DJ and Brown exactly the way the should have.

Best guess is that Hemdo is gone and Tyrus is amnestied. Tyrus has 2 years left after this one and anyone that has seen him play knows he is un tradeable. Cut your losses.

Posted by: Skip | Feb 2, 2013 2:46:02 PM

The Cats may have to make a Choice between Bennett (UNLV) and Zeller (IU). Who would you take and why?

Posted by: HootEvers | Feb 2, 2013 3:13:34 PM

Really 90 percent of the Carolinas want Hornets back, 90 percent want the local team to win...where was all this Hornets support the last three years of the team when they were here; best way to show someone, Mr. Shinn that his business was vibrant in Charlotte was to show up and support the team, instead 2-3K came out to the games and you wonder why he bolted. The team would have eventually gotten a new arena. You so called diehard Hornets fans are a joke.

Posted by: Charles | Feb 2, 2013 4:19:00 PM

An email from Higgins? Seriously? Well that sure makes me feel better. Not. Same old same old. Not sure how anyone thinks Cho is behind this rebuilding project. He is invisible. Higgins was the only GM in the NBA that thought his son was good enough for the NBA. How did that work out? What a joke of a franchise.

Posted by: Starter | Feb 2, 2013 4:23:18 PM

I know what happened to augustin and brown....it had a lot to do with them being restricted and let go at the end of free agency. Had they both been available from day one, they would have had better chances.

I'm making the point that if that becomes a habit, players will take notice and be less likely to want to come here. We'll start having top 10 draft picks demanding trades from day one.

You do bad business, you lose clientele and employees. They've done it for years, i hope it doesn't continue. They should absolutely keep henderson and mullens both on reasonable deals.

What free agent are they throwing max deals at? Tyreke evans? Josh smith? Al jefferson? Andrew bynum? Those are the best free agents available. Bynum would surely pick philly over charlotte. Evans and jefferson aren't worth max deals and will only come if we overpay them. Awesome. Smith probably isn't worth it either and would surely go elsewhere like dallas or phoenix before here.

So who is it that they are throwing max money to?

Posted by: charlottean | Feb 2, 2013 5:39:01 PM

Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not Air Minimum is coming up on his 7 year anniversary as "managing member" of the BOBcats...he's been in charge the whole time regardless of the ownership %. It's all on His Minimumness.

Yup, it did take Cuban 11 years. And in the previous 10 years they made the playoffs EVERY year, ALWAYS had a winning record, and won 9 different playoffs series.

Not to mention the 4 playoff series wins on the way to the title. So to recap, 12-12 on playoffs and winning records, 13 playoff series wins, 1 NBA Championship.

MJ through 7 years, 1 playoff appearance, 0 playoffs series wins, losing record 6-7 years.

MJ will never amnesty Tyrus, he's too cheap.

Lastly, the thesis that "MJ couldn't be effective with Johnson as owner is nonsense", MJ had full control. But if you really believe that then by definition Cho will never be effective as long as MJ is owner.

Posted by: Spider S. | Feb 2, 2013 5:40:49 PM

I think Henderson and Mullens are keepers. It would be a travesty to let them walk for nothing. We could sign both of them and still have room to sign a max player or two mid level players. I have a feeling that they will let Diop, Warrick, and Williams walk. Hoping for the best for them in their futures. I hope they stick to the plan of acquiring assets and developing talent. Once we stock the talent we can then make trades that have value.

Posted by: nucat | Feb 3, 2013 4:04:45 PM

Go Bobcats, Hornets are gone! get over it, trades and free agents, to get better, they will come if you have the money to offer. weed out the unproductive,replace with hard working players. Go Bobcats!

Posted by: david | Feb 7, 2013 11:27:28 AM

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