Sunday, June 08, 2008

NBA Offseason Preview - Charlotte Bobcats

Charlotte Bobcats
2008-2009 Payroll (Source: $35.3M

Draft Picks: #9, #38

Last season, the Bobcats entered the season with hopes of making the playoffs. This season, they have the coach who’s made a living out of making teams better. During the previous regime, the Bobcats placed a high value on wing players. As a result, the team has spent its last three first-round selections (Adam Morrison, Jason Richardson via Brandan Wright and Jared Dudley) on wings. Naturally, a focus on one position has resulted in a dearth of big men who can patrol the lane. Though Charlotte acquired Nazr Mohammed, they also acquired his prohibitive contract ($19M over the next three years).

If Gerald Wallace, Emeka Okafor, JRich and Raymond Felton can stay healthy, the Bobcats can do some real damage in the Eastern Conference. However, they could use a piece or two in the frontcourt.

Burning Questions:
With the Bobcats now somewhat serious about spending following the hire of Larry Brown, will the Bobcats be able to re-sign Emeka Okafor to a multi-year deal (qualifying offer of $7.1M this season)? Also, are the Bobcats in the sweepstakes for Rasheed Wallace, and if so, what is the cost?

Perceived Needs: PF/C, Backup PG, Depth

If I Were GM ... Re-signing Emeka Okafor long-term is priority #1.

Once that is settled, I would know that my coach doesn’t play rookies. Therefore, the #9 pick will go to the highest bidder. With an expiring contract of $13.7M, the Pistons may look to trade Rasheed Wallace and Charlotte would be wise to inquire about the going rate. If there are no takers, Brook Lopez is an option if he is still on the board (unlikely). Kevin Love and Darrell Arthur could also be possibilities.

With the #38 pick, the Bobcats will look to selecting a point guard. Due to their size, Kyle Weaver and Anton Ponkrashov may warrant consideration.

Lastly, the Bobcats have a handful of free agents. At the end of the day, Othella Harrington and Ryan Hollins may receive offers strictly because of the size they offer.

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