For this edition of the 3-on-3, we start thinking about the upcoming season and what the Bobcats will do before it starts and where they will stand once it completes. And mainly, we’re just excited the NBA is back.
1. What free agents will the Bobcats bring back and possibly go after in the market?
Spencer: The one unrestricted FA that I think the Bobcats will surely try to bring back would be Kwame Brown. The fact that he shouldn’t be receiving too much interest from many other teams around the league and that he’ll start in Charlotte make the pieces fit for Kwame to return. Kwame did show improvement last season as I focused on previously and hopefully that can continue. I don’t really see the Bobcats going after any other FA in the market. If anything, maybe a scoring boost off the bench for very cheap. Willie Green, Tracy McGrady, and DeShawn Stevenson could all be possibilities.
Mathew: I think the Bobcats certainly look at making Dante Cunningham a qualifying offer ($1,059,293) as well as attempting to bring Kwame Brown back. Chris Broussard reports Utah is willing to move Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, two players I would like to see the Bobcats go after, particularly Millsap. The current roster is thin inside and could use some help scoring in the post (Millsap posted a PER of 19.05 and a True Shooting Percentage of 57.8 in 2010-2011). He would also help on the offensive boards (Career Offensive Rebounding Rate of 11.1), an area the Bobcats need to exploit in order to generate more points.
Brett: A team desperate for size will overpay for Kwame based on his decent year last year, and really he’s a backup and approaching 30. The Bobcats need to look to the future and give time to the young players on the roster and find some others to take a look at: So, Dante Cunningham and Garrett Temple, here are qualifying offers. Those two don’t help much with scoring though, so…Jamal Crawford? Allen Iverson? (At this point, I’m just messing with you – it will be minimum type players to fill the roster as the Bobcats will have enough committed to salary to meet the threshold and this is not a playoff team).
2. How soon will we see Bismack Biyombo on the floor for Bobcats? (court date 12/19 to break contract in Spain)
Spencer: Biyombo is reportedly suing his former team in Spain and has a court date set for Dec. 19. With the Bobcats season likely to start on Dec. 26-28, it would be hard to imagine that he’ll be on the floor until at least January, but it’s really hard to call. My thought is that Biyombo’s first priority will be to get this contract situation in Spain behind him before he joins the team and starts training in Charlotte.
Mathew: This is a tough question to answer. I think we need to wait until the court date on the 19th to make any kind of educated guess as to when Charlotte fans get their first glimpse of him in a Bobcats (practice) jersey. Getting him signed and in camp would be a great Christmas present, however.
Brett: I’m going to be the pessimist and say Biyombo does not play in the NBA this year, with his contract overseas being upheld and the buyout too large to overcome for this season. I really hope I’m wrong though, because I’d love to see BB and TT paired together in the frontcourt.
3. Season predictions: Where will the Bobcats finish by the end of the 66 game season?
Spencer: The 66-game schedule should help the Bobcats stay in the race for 8th a little bit longer, but there really is nothing that points to this team being very good. The team’s top two players from the past two seasons are now gone (Wallace and Jackson) and now Corey Magettee, Gerald Henderson, and Boris Diaw will assume the bulk of the scoring role. Kemba Walker will also play a major role in the scoring department by mid-season I believe. I think the Bobcats will be lucky to get to 30 wins when it’s all said and done and if they over exceed to get that many then they will likely find themselves in playoffs. Realistic expectation — 20-46.
Mathew: I have mixed feelings at this point about the prospects for this season. I’m excited about Kemba and what he can bring to the franchise both on and off the court (filling the stands); however, at the same time I know the team still has a lot of growing to do. There are six teams I believe the Bobcats certainly finish behind – Boston, New York, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta. Can they beat out the likes of Philadelphia, Indiana, New Jersey, Milwaukee for two of the remaining playoff spots? Stop me if you’ve heard this before…
Brett: Starting five of D.J., Gerald Henderson, Corey Maggette, Boris Diaw and Tyrus Thomas. Second string of Kemba Walker, Matt Carroll, Dante Cunningham(R), D.J. White, and Bismack Biyombo. Prediction for the season: Top 5 lottery pick.