The trade deadline is less than a week away, plenty of teams want to get rid of and add guys, and yet nothing has happened in the way of player movement.
The Queen City’s own Boris Diaw is pretty much guaranteed to never play another game in a Bobcats jersey, but the collective knowledge of the internet is he’s more likely to get bought out than traded.
And what, exactly, is the point of that?
Getting rid of him that way has absolutely no effect on Charlotte’s future salary cap, because he’s an unrestricted free agent after this season. Why not get something, anything for him?
A $9 million expiring contract should be enough to at least bring back a second round draft pick or a couple of young players who haven’t panned out with their current team.
If the Bobcats could find the right trade partner, they might even be able to get more than that.
There is a team in the NBA so desperate to get rid of one of their salary clogging forwards, that it might be willing to give up something extremely valuable for an expiring contract like Diaw’s.
In his latest edition of “Weekend Dime” on ESPN.com, Mark Stein says “Hedo Turkoglu, sources say, is the first name Orlando has been throwing out in trade discussions over the past week or so. Yet it’s one thing to try to foist Turkoglu on a team that’s trading for Howard and quite another to try to move Turkoglu, or any other vet in Howard’s supporting cast, when Dwight himself isn’t part of the deal.”
The only way they could get rid of him, Stein quotes one front office source as saying, is to include “at least two” future first rounders in any Turkoglu deal.
It might seem crazy for the Magic to give up (potentially) two first round draft picks for essentially nothing but an expiring contract and the chance to unload a guy owed $18 million over the next two years, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
The Magic already used their amnesty clause (Gilbert Arenas), so that huge contract could keep Orlando out of the hunt for high level free agents in the short term if they want to keep Dwight Howard. If they don’t sign Howard, that’s still a lot of money they could use to spend on multiple, better players than Turkoglu.
Still, how much could Charlotte benefit by taking on his toxic contract?
For one, that contract wouldn’t look so bad on Charlotte’s current payroll. The Bobcats would be on the hook for $54 million next year if they made the deal, and right around $21 million in 2013/14.
Remember, the Bobcats still have the amnesty clause to work with, and they could shed as much as $8 million by using it on Tyrus Thomas. That would put Charlotte at $42 million in salary responsibilities next year.
Even if the Bobcats don’t make any moves and stay at their current salary level, they’d be hard-pressed to improve through free agency this off season.
After 2012/13, though, the free agent class gets much deeper, and a team as far under the cap as the Bobcats could certainly sign enough quality guys to get better.
Forget free agents though, if the Bobcats could land two future first round draft picks (including one this year), that should be enough to make the front office pull the trigger.
This year’s draft class is loaded, with solid players like Doron Lamb, John Jenkins and Jeffery Taylor all projected to last well into the 20s where Orlando should end up.
The other first round pick, though, is hard to project, because it could end up being one of those “to be named later” picks.
Two future drafts with two first round picks would be hard to pass up.
Even if they don’t make a trade like this, the ‘Cats should at least get rid of Diaw for another expiring contract and cheap, young players, or at the very least a few second round draft picks.
Cutting him lose, letting him sign with a playoff team and getting nothing in return just doesn’t seem worth it for all of the ill advised passes out of wide open layups Charlotte fans have had to endure since Diaw became a Bobcat.