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Is Al Jefferson done as a Charlotte Hornet?


I was putting together this trade timeline and started to wonder if it’s possible Al has played his last game as a Hornet. If he comes back after 3 weeks it’ll be at least 2 more before he’s in game shape (for Al) and if the team is rolling that’s a huge wrench. Sooner or later it could happen via trade or a Josh Smith style buyout.

The next 30 days are going to be crazy significant with so many roster subplots, from doing nothing to making major changes. Every pundit over the summer kept repeating the incorrect mantra that Charlotte’s main objective was “winning now” but that was always false. The truth is they altered their roster blueprint with a concurrent goal of remaining competitive...big difference. It has always been about 2016-17 and 2017-18 but the lazy media never bothered with math, the salary cap, or the 22-26 age range of the core.

We could see some interesting twists but I doubt valuable picks or valuable assets are surrendered for expiring contracts. A rough timeline:

December 15 - trade restrictions are lifted for FA signed over the summer
December 21 - Al’s projected return date
January 5 - teams can sign players to 10 day contracts
January 15 - deadline to apply for MKG’s Disabled Player Exception (DPE)
February 18 - NBA trade deadline
March 22 - 5.5 months after MKG’s surgery, the amount of time between Love’s surgery and debut
April 6 - exactly 6 months after MKG’s surgery, the projected time he would be out
April 20 - playoffs start
May 5 - 2nd round starts

Scenario 1 - the team improbably falls off a cliff and starts the 2016-17 reboot early. In this unlikely scenario Marvin could be traded, Al is traded or receives his buyout, the team uses a series of 10 day contracts, no MKG return, and no DPE.

Scenario 2 - The team bumps along on the playoff bubble expecting the lotto or a playoff sweep. If this happens Marvin could still be traded, Al is a wild card, Cho looks for 10-day contracts, the team explores the DPE option ($3.1 million), and MKG does not return.

Scenario 3 - Al returns and the team racks up enough wins within 6 weeks to think HC advantage is realistic. In this scenario the FO will have some tough decisions. I’m sure the goal would be to see MKG return by April or they’ll file for the DPE. They’d keep Marvin for the stretch run with a minor deal to fortify a need.

Scenario 4 - The team surges over the next 2-3 weeks providing a glimmer of 46-50 wins without Al and the FO decides to trade him or give him a buyout. Alternatively, he could return as an ill-fit and get moved in January. If this happens I can also see a larger trade go down involving multiple players and draft picks to acquire a significant piece on a longer contract. Marvin for sure stays, MKG returns and a massive Mic Drop ensues . I don’t know the probability of this happening but it’ not 0%.

Scenarios 5 through whatever...


  • 90 Comments

    I was never a fan of the signing ever Dave, but I think you have to give some credit that from the moment Al came here the team has made big strides from 7 wins. I'm not saying the team couldn't have got even better without Al by getting a better pick in 2014, but the team is in a better place and Al had had a pretty major role in that

     

    Playing a major role in going 76-88 is a low bar for ~ 1/4th the 2013 salary cap. The fact there’s a legitimate debate regarding Al vs a replacement level player is damning enough, let alone the opportunity costs. That $40 million could have inked other assets or been pocketed. We also need to acknowledge it's likely Biz's fate was sealed when Al decided to pass on FA last June. Biz + $9 million relative to Al isn’t a minor thing.

     

    Mostly though, fans shouldn’t have to squint hard to find tangible value from the team's highest salaried player. If Al’s presence is cited in helping Charlotte then the converse with the Celtics, T-Wolves, and Jazz is also fair game. His departure is equally correlated with the improved short and long-term fortunes of each franchise.

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    Demon DeaCat
    Jan 01 2016 06:51 PM

    I hate treadmills/mediocrity and let's face it, mediocrity is basically this team's best case scenario.  Al is decidedly not the most talented FA ever attracted here unless you massively overvalue empty stats.  He didn't carry us into respectability and the playoffs IMO, the natural progression of a very young team playing in a season where there was massive tanking going on got us into the playoffs and potentially 2 top ten draft picks in a stacked draft.

     

    And can we can this false narrative of the game evolving where it made Al less relevant?  Al's game was never relevant as buckets excellently illustrated above.  Defense and taking efficient shots have always been constant keys to success and Al has never come close to being above average at either.  Al's only value to the team is a hollow 20 and 10 career average that the casual fan can look at and say "Look honey, the Bobcats got somebody decent, finally."  The future outlook would have been so much brighter if Charlotte had signed a better FA that year (Millsap, cough, cough) or just tried for Wiggins et al and come up like the Magic are starting to do.  All this respectability hoopla would have been gained simply by the re-brand anyhow; nobody cares that the Bobcats got to the playoffs that year.  Just like nobody cares that the Bobcats made the playoffs that one year under Larry Brown.  Because "Bobcats" was permanently synonymous with "laughable."

    Just a few thoughts in response to this:  

     

    1) If you truly believe the ceiling for this franchise is mediocrity now and forever more, then being a fan must not be a whole lot of fun for you.  

     

    2) Who would you consider to have been a more significant FA signing than Jefferson?  Lin would be the only one that comes close, and while he's been a solid addition, I don't think he's all that close, at least not yet.

     

    3) With all due respect to Buckets' analysis, I think it's largely irrelevant. However one might contextualize the impact Al had on his teams in Bos/Min/Utah, that has absolutely nothing to do with the very obvious positive impact he had on us.  Stats aside, just based on the eye test, we were clearly a more competitive and entertaining team to watch his first year in 2013-14 than the year before.  But I suppose you would argue that the 22 win improvement that season was just smoke and mirrors and had nothing to do with him, despite him leading us in scoring and rebounding that year.

     

    You're clearly not a fan of his and that's fine. Therefore, if you criticized his defensive deficiencies, his lapses in judgment (i.e. suspension) and at times his conditioning which has contributed to his various injuries, I couldn't take issue with any of that because all of those points are fair and reasonable.  But to craft an argument that completely invalidates the significant contributions he has made to this franchise over the past three years is just silly.

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    @JPlowright_NBA
    Jan 01 2016 07:09 PM

    Playing a major role in going 76-88 is a low bar for ~ 1/4th the 2013 salary cap. The fact there’s a legitimate debate regarding Al vs a replacement level player is damning enough, let alone the opportunity costs. That $40 million could have inked other assets or been pocketed. We also need to acknowledge it's likely Biz's fate was sealed when Al decided to pass on FA last June. Biz + $9 million relative to Al isn’t a minor thing.

     

    Mostly though, fans shouldn’t have to squint hard to find tangible value from the team's highest salaried player. If Al’s presence is cited in helping Charlotte then the converse with the Celtics, T-Wolves, and Jazz is also fair game. His departure is equally correlated with the improved short and long-term fortunes of each franchise.

     

    I think you are oversimplifying it, in a major sort of way, I simply don't buy that any guy would have made us a better team than without Al. There is no stat that will change my opinion, sometimes you just need to take a step back away from stats/contracts/CAP and look at the team and what it's accomplished. I am not saying the team is in this unbelievable position, but they were THE laughing stock of the NBA, I think Al played a big role in moving them away from that. Now you can argue that they would have got a certain pick in 2014 & 2015 if they hadn't signed him, it really doesn't matter, all I know is the team is in a better place now than it was without Al in 2013

    Count me in with Plow and DeaCat, there's more to this whole thing than stats and retrospectives that ignore what predated it.  Al was a huge FA signing and he was "the" first.  Without Al's signing, do we sign Hayward?  And do we with those two moves pretty much in two checks wipe out a history and league-wide rumble that we're just a cheap franchise that will never spend the money to make a real go at things?  You can discount that value but if you look at the amount of respect that Philla had leading up to the forced intervention by the league this year (guys saying to not draft them, guys refusing to work out for them, agents saying to not offer contracts to keep guys...), that was us just four years ago. And we were coming off a SEVEN win record not but a year prior where we had a guy in Diaw that was paring down a cafeteria spoon to dig his way out.  You cannot ignore that stuff and just look at 13mm and 18/9 and say "what could have been?"  If you do that, you ignore that we might have never had a chance to sign Hayward, or Lance (not that the signing turned out well for basketball sake but it did look good we could land a mid-sized fish), or get the league-wide acceptance we now enjoy ... and compared to where we were, we are easily an NBA accepted entity.

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    BrotherDave
    Jan 02 2016 12:13 AM

    I was never a fan of the signing ever Dave, but I think you have to give some credit that from the moment Al came here the team has made big strides from 7 wins. I'm not saying the team couldn't have got even better without Al by getting a better pick in 2014, but the team is in a better place and Al had had a pretty major role in that

    The team made big strides without him.  We didn't simply leap frog from 7 wins to 43 wins and playoffs.  Dunlap tripled that team's win total without Al despite a complete garbage of a roster that included gems like Byron Mullens, Tyrus Thomas, Ben Gordon, and Cory effing Higgins.  Replacing a lot of those toxic players with competent NBA talent plus token growth of the young core did just as much, if not more than, to propel Charlotte forward as signing Al.  You guys are drinking too much of the national media's watered down kool-aid of talking points and under-cooked analysis if you think Al was this big hero signing.

     

    I'm not saying Al had no impact, just not nearly the impact as popular opinion thinks.  He did have a torrid hot streak but still.

     

    Playing a major role in going 76-88 is a low bar for ~ 1/4th the 2013 salary cap. The fact there’s a legitimate debate regarding Al vs a replacement level player is damning enough, let alone the opportunity costs. That $40 million could have inked other assets or been pocketed. We also need to acknowledge it's likely Biz's fate was sealed when Al decided to pass on FA last June. Biz + $9 million relative to Al isn’t a minor thing.

     

    Mostly though, fans shouldn’t have to squint hard to find tangible value from the team's highest salaried player. If Al’s presence is cited in helping Charlotte then the converse with the Celtics, T-Wolves, and Jazz is also fair game. His departure is equally correlated with the improved short and long-term fortunes of each franchise.

    Yes, yes, this.  Thank you so much for this post.  I don't expect people to agree with us but to at least entertain the thought.  

     

    Just a few thoughts in response to this:  

     

    1) If you truly believe the ceiling for this franchise is mediocrity now and forever more, then being a fan must not be a whole lot of fun for you.  

     

    2) Who would you consider to have been a more significant FA signing than Jefferson?  Lin would be the only one that comes close, and while he's been a solid addition, I don't think he's all that close, at least not yet.

     

    3) With all due respect to Buckets' analysis, I think it's largely irrelevant. However one might contextualize the impact Al had on his teams in Bos/Min/Utah, that has absolutely nothing to do with the very obvious positive impact he had on us.  Stats aside, just based on the eye test, we were clearly a more competitive and entertaining team to watch his first year in 2013-14 than the year before.  But I suppose you would argue that the 22 win improvement that season was just smoke and mirrors and had nothing to do with him, despite him leading us in scoring and rebounding that year.

     

    You're clearly not a fan of his and that's fine. Therefore, if you criticized his defensive deficiencies, his lapses in judgment (i.e. suspension) and at times his conditioning which has contributed to his various injuries, I couldn't take issue with any of that because all of those points are fair and reasonable.  But to craft an argument that completely invalidates the significant contributions he has made to this franchise over the past three years is just silly.

    1)  Not forevermore.  Never say never.  I'm saying the team's short-term window is pretty hard-capped as a late seed, first round bounce out.  If, IF Batum resigns and we fill more holes on the roster than dig this off-season than we might be able to scratch out a 2nd round or two for 2-3 years but look around the East.  Teams like the Magic, Pistons and Celtics are on the come up.  Even lowly Philly is slowly shaking off hibernation.  The talent stockpiled by the teams around us are going to surpass ours pretty quickly.  The basketball gods will have to really show us favor on draft night for Charlotte to keep trending upwards.  

     

    2)  Honestly Marvin Williams has been more of an impactful FA signing than Al has IMO and I don't even like Marv that much.  That was one FA where Charlotte was actually ahead of the trend (more like parallel) of the game instead of following past fads.   McRoberts was way more impactful as well.

     

    3)  See above.  That season's success did not exist in an Al Jefferson vacuum.  Not to play the hindsight game too much here but it's just as likely that Charlotte signs a FA that had as much an impact as Al did.  Someone like Kaman could've signed here and put up the same hollow points and rebounds as Al, seriously.

     

    I'm not being silly at all.  I'm taking a much more nuanced and critical look at this team than you give me credit for.  Overstating Al's impact on this team is reductionist history at best and ignores so many factors, most of which were very well-stated by buckets.  What is silly about saying that the negatives of Al's signings outweigh the positives?  That's all my argument is.  

     

    Positives:  "name recognition"

    Provided points and rebounds.

    3rd team All-NBA

    Trip to the playoffs that resulted in a first round sweep.

    Kaminsky drafted for complementary reasons (stretch 4).

     

    Negatives:  Terrible P&R defender (NBA counter-trend)

    Constantly out of shape.

    Suspended for chronic.

    Chronically injured. 

    Low post iso-game (NBA counter-trend)

    Never an All-Star.

    Opt-in pushes Biyombo out.

    Other FAs could've been better values/more trend-friendly.

    Potentially could have had two top 10 picks in deep draft.

    Zeller and Vonleh drafted for complementary reasons ("stretch" fours).

    Count me in with Plow and DeaCat, there's more to this whole thing than stats and retrospectives that ignore what predated it.  Al was a huge FA signing and he was "the" first.  Without Al's signing, do we sign Hayward?  And do we with those two moves pretty much in two checks wipe out a history and league-wide rumble that we're just a cheap franchise that will never spend the money to make a real go at things?  You can discount that value but if you look at the amount of respect that Philla had leading up to the forced intervention by the league this year (guys saying to not draft them, guys refusing to work out for them, agents saying to not offer contracts to keep guys...), that was us just four years ago. And we were coming off a SEVEN win record not but a year prior where we had a guy in Diaw that was paring down a cafeteria spoon to dig his way out.  You cannot ignore that stuff and just look at 13mm and 18/9 and say "what could have been?"  If you do that, you ignore that we might have never had a chance to sign Hayward, or Lance (not that the signing turned out well for basketball sake but it did look good we could land a mid-sized fish), or get the league-wide acceptance we now enjoy ... and compared to where we were, we are easily an NBA accepted entity.

     

    yes there is a certain "unmeasureable" impact to the team in the same regards with the 76ers we are having in the nba thread. al coming and providing a foundation from which kemba, mkg and cody could learn and build from is impossible to measure but still very real to their development. kemba has said many times that the terrible teams played a huge impact on him psychologically and also from a development standpoint. he is a default "hero" pg and without any other servicable talent around him, he defaults to his basketball genes. this is not a good habit for a young player. without al, mkg would have been forced to be much more of an offensive player wayyyyy before he was even thinking about being ready. al allowed him to focus on defense for early success. same with cody. 

     

    not saying that it was a good signing (i am still more pro brother dave and buckets) but this can not be understated.

    Agree with Chef. 

     

    At the very least, need to add under the positive column that Al helped establish some semblance of a reliable offense that we could help build players on. That it was counter-trend in the NBA doesn't take away from the fact that it helped guys learn to play in a system and becoming effective. 

     

    Could we have done that with another player, like Kaman? Maybe. I'm sure there's another FA that could have helped us. However, Al was money for quite some time in that inside-out post offense. It helped us think a lot more about spacing and being in the right place. 

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    Ashevillelin
    Jan 02 2016 11:52 AM

    I appreciate the intelligence of this conversation from all sides. I'm basically in the Chef camp ("Not a huge Al fan, but....")

     

    There's definitely another thing that should be added to positive side of BrotherDave's list: Being a big part of a starting lineup that could compete with anyone's. Moreover, it was a on a team that was a complete laughingstock the previous year. 

     

    It can't be overstated how good that Al-Kemba-MKG-McRoberts-Henderson lineup was. In major minutes (526) during the regular season, it was +10.6. Then during the playoffs, in a full game's worth of minutes, it was +15.7 (!!!) against Miami. The lineup, where Al was definitely the offensive centerpiece, gave the Carolinas hope that the franchise had something seriously good to build around. 

     

    It didn't work out that way, but still....

     

    http://www.basketbal...A/2014/lineups/

    dear lord,

    please no al + minor asset for brook lopez

     

    amen

     

    No need to worry about that, Brooklyn has no incentive to dump Lopez and rebuild what with Boston owning their next three drafts. However, if Cho's willing to take on the back end of his contract (which could get ugly), there's probably a workable Tyson Chandler trade out there somewhere. I could see Jordan pushing that sort of move in an effort to squeeze two or three more wins and out of the second half of the season and secure a playoff spot. 

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    Ashevillelin
    Jan 04 2016 01:14 PM

    No need to worry about that, Brooklyn has no incentive to dump Lopez and rebuild what with Boston owning their next three drafts. However, if Cho's willing to take on the back end of his contract (which could get ugly), there's probably a workable Tyson Chandler trade out there somewhere. I could see Jordan pushing that sort of move in an effort to squeeze two or three more wins and out of the second half of the season and secure a playoff spot. 

    I've considered that one. If we didn't give up too much for Chandler and got healthy (with MKG back for the post season), I think we would have a legitimate shot at getting by any team in the East save for a healthy Cleveland. Those are two big ifs, however, and, as you point out, it might be ugly on the back end.  

    No need to worry about that, Brooklyn has no incentive to dump Lopez and rebuild what with Boston owning their next three drafts. However, if Cho's willing to take on the back end of his contract (which could get ugly), there's probably a workable Tyson Chandler trade out there somewhere. I could see Jordan pushing that sort of move in an effort to squeeze two or three more wins and out of the second half of the season and secure a playoff spot. 

     

    that was before the knee injury. it would conceivably allow brooklyn to offload lopez without becoming significantly worse and gain an asset + have more space going into this summer.

     

    the second thought, which i didn't post was a followup prayer including tyson chandler.

    I've considered that one. If we didn't give up too much for Chandler and got healthy (with MKG back for the post season), I think we would have a legitimate shot at getting by any team in the East save for a healthy Cleveland. Those are two big ifs, however, and, as you point out, it might be ugly on the back end.  

     

    + there is the stain from the last time chandler was here

    that was before the knee injury. it would conceivably allow brooklyn to offload lopez without becoming significantly worse and gain an asset + have more space going into this summer.

     

    the second thought, which i didn't post was a followup prayer including tyson chandler.

     

    Even before Al's knee injury, though, I don't think Brooklyn wants to offload Lopez unless it's a definite upgrade, because I think they're starting to realize that simply being in Brooklyn won't make anyone of note sign there unless the team is actually good. By no means is he untouchable, but after he closed out last season pretty strong and played well in the playoffs I feel like they're past the whole "we'd really, really like to get rid of him" phase they went through at the start of last year. 

     

    EDIT: Also, to be clear, I'm not actually advocating a Chandler trade, just that it's the kind of move I could see Jordan pushing the front office to pull off. 

     

    EDIT: Also, to be clear, I'm not actually advocating a Chandler trade, just that it's the kind of move I could see Jordan pushing the front office to pull off. 

     

    let's just not even put this in the atmosphere. some things are better left unsaid.

    I've considered that one. If we didn't give up too much for Chandler and got healthy (with MKG back for the post season), I think we would have a legitimate shot at getting by any team in the East save for a healthy Cleveland. Those are two big ifs, however, and, as you point out, it might be ugly on the back end.  

     

    That of course is the biggest concern. The rationale could be justified if constituted in a way to minimize the cap risk but it depends on how much one values Lamb. Trade Al + Lamb for Chandler + Tucker (or Morris). PHX gets an expiring plus a young player on a cheap contract, CHO gets a 3rd big and a 6th-8th rotation player.

     

    - Tucker would be useful the next 2 years before conveniently expiring in 2017. Or if Morris instead, 4 solid months of PF depth making him a more valuable trade asset in 2016-17...that’s why you’d gamble on him. I’d bet on extracting future value from Morris’ $8 million contract vs. Lamb’s $7 million.

     

    - Including Lamb in the deal reduces the Chandler cap hit down to $6 million in 2017 (Tucker scenario). The hit would be even less years 1 and 2 since Charlotte would overpay summer of 2016 for a 3rd defensive big. This year and next Chandler would get 15-20 minutes, year 4 is expiring so only year 3 is potentially really smelly, injury aside.

     

    - If the primary goals include a playoff run and resigning Batum a front court of Chandler, Frank, and Batum isn’t a bad thing - that’s a formidable adult playoff line any opponent would have to take seriously. It would also unlock trade value in Hawes since Cody would be the backup C, Frank the 3rd.

    + there is the stain from the last time chandler was here


    Any talk of Chandelier ignores this very real element. I seriously doubt Jordan wants this prima donna back in TWC Arena except in the visiting section.

    Any talk of Chandelier ignores this very real element. I seriously doubt Jordan wants this prima donna back in TWC Arena except in the visiting section.

     

    I can't speak to the dynamics or lingering bitterness in Charlotte. I do consider though Chandler's last ~ 5 years historically significant, if not great (and wildly underrated).

    I can't speak to the dynamics or lingering bitterness in Charlotte. I do consider though Chandler's last ~ 5 years historically significant, if not great (and wildly underrated).

    What I don't know is if it was Brown or the FO but there seemed to be a palpable dislike for His Wimpiness here.

    What I don't know is if it was Brown or the FO but there seemed to be a palpable dislike for His Wimpiness here.

     

    I couldn't begin to guess but as an exercise just perused the rosters of the past ~ 6 years and it struck me how many glue guys the team let go: Dudley, Diaw, McBob, Chandler, Mo, Raja and Howard jumped out at me. Other than Chandler none would be considered a star but it could be argued their value's exceed what's on paper.

     

    Not saying they were mistakes but it does seem, big picture, the franchise as a rule prioritized box-score guys above all else. Perhaps a reason I'm optimistic it's "different this time" with guys like Nic, MKG, Frank, Marvin, and Cody.

    I couldn't begin to guess but as an exercise just perused the rosters of the past ~ 6 years and it struck me how many glue guys the team let go: Dudley, Diaw, McBob, Chandler, Mo, Raja and Howard jumped out at me. Other than Chandler none would be considered a star but it could be argued their value's exceed what's on paper.

     

    Not saying they were mistakes but it does seem, big picture, the franchise as a rule prioritized box-score guys above all else. Perhaps a reason I'm optimistic it's "different this time" with guys like Nic, MKG, Frank, Marvin, and Cody.

     

     

    I think the reason we had all those "glue guys" and let them go is because we NEVER got the big pieces to work with them so it all unraveled and always will. That's why glue guys need to be brought in after... IF we have a team of mostly glue guys now we need to hope a couple will actually step up and be more than that (Kemba (consistency)?, Batum (consistency, killer instinct)?....

    Any talk of Chandelier ignores this very real element. I seriously doubt Jordan wants this prima donna back in TWC Arena except in the visiting section.

     

    I mean, Jordan's enough of a wildcard that I really could see him harboring a personal grudge, but Charlotte has a new GM, coach, and roster since Chandler was last here, and Chandler's enough of a pro that, coupled with his four-year deal, he'll report to the team and give an honest effort if traded here. On top of that, since his only year in Charlotte he's anchored a championship defense, won a DPOY, made an all-star game, and generally established himself as a respected league veteran, which is likely to soften any leftover resentment Jordan might have. I still really don't like the last year or two of that contract, but it makes sense. 

    He didn't report and give an honest effort last time...

    As for why you let glue guys go, hard to see value when there's little to glue together. Bell was part of a bigger trade (bringing in Jax). Diaw asked for a buyout. Mo wanted back to CLE. McBob was a FO offer f**k up by most accounts. Dudley brought us Diaw and Bell IIRC. Surprised you didn't pick up on the ultimate glue guy, Diop, who was glued to the pine for good bucks.

    He didn't report and give an honest effort last time...

     

    33 and 27 are fairly different ages, and with the way Phoenix is headed right now Chandler's likely to be thankful to be rescued by any squad in a reasonable playoff chase. He'd show up. He just won't be very good at age 36, which is what worries me - and, full disclosure, I'm mostly worried about years 3 and 4 on his deal because I also think he's a possible low-cost target for Boston as well. 

    http://basketball.re...d_trade/6644036

     

      What about A Lynn and Morris  for  Hawes and B Roberts.  They do this to move Morris  and save about 8 million  in contract money . We get bigger and better on the boards  with a 22 year old center in Lynn. With a new team Morris has the ability's to turn it on . We would then have to move Marvin to the starting three with PJ backing him up . We could start Frank or Morris  . Lynn would most likely take Cody's starting place .  But we would be much bigger and rebound a ton more with Lynn and Morris . I think they would make the trade to move Morris and save the money . It's like a get out of jail card for them to move him .  This would be risky but it might be our best hope to get to the playoffs.  This move would allow Marvin to walk next year along with Jefferson. That's 21 million to offer a player in free agency so then we could offer 1 max contract beside Batum.  We would then be scary deep With a core of Batum , MKG, Kemba  and a max contract player. To go along with Morris , Lynn , Lamb , ,Lin  , Cody , Frank . This might be a very nice patch work move.

    here are the major issues i see them:

     

    1. the sg spot has got to be addressed. pj is a so-so defender who fouls way to much and a sub-average offensive player. he is killing the first unit. there is so much pressure on kemba and batum to score that it mucks up the entire flow of the offense.

     

    2. making a long term move is very risky because what do you do about mkg. he is a true glue guy, defensive ace but very sub-optimal offensive player. if you are keeping him long term, you better have really good production at 3 spots which means one of frank, cody or mystery center x better be a 20 pt guy. so, if you are addressing the sg spot AND keeping both batum and mkg, it has to be a 1 or 2 year rental. eric gordon comes to mind but i don't know what it will take to get him and i think it has to include lamb.

     

    3. chandler won't work with mkg long term for the above reasons.

     

    4. lin is the 2nd best guard on the team but probably is the best in-season trade chip with marvin in second. the problem with trading them is will the incoming production of 2 essentially expiring deals exceed the outgoing contributions.

     

    5. al is a dead contract and will only fetch a long term mistake at this point. in other years, the expiring cap space would be helpful but this year, teams don't need to trade for cap space. AND if i were charlotte, i wouldn't take on long term salary just because. i think if you aren't a prime free agent destination the right play is to save space for 2 years when the cap is projected to lower. if you manage it properly you could stay competitive AND have a major asset that season with the ability to make "economic" trades and pick up assets.

     

    in short, i am not sure that there are moves to be made that both make them significantly better this year to ensure the playoffs AND don't hurt the future.





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