For the most part, I believe most will be quiet as the trade deadline looms just a little more than 24 hours away – Charlotte isn’t one of the many teams that most expect to stay quiet. Only time will tell, but one thing is certain – the front office is burning up the phones to find a trade partner that will help bolster the offensive depth on this roster.
We’ve heard the names Pau Gasol, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, Taj Gibson, Aaron Afflalo, Gary Neal and Caron Butler all mentioned alongside the Bobcats name in rumors, so it’s clear the team is active – whether a deal is agreed upon or not is predicated on the price tag of the player(s) and Charlotte certainly has some flexibility in that sense with at least two projected first round draft picks, their own second round pick + the Ben Gordon expiring contract.
Spencer Percy, Greg Pietras and Dakota Schmidt all give their two-cents on what to expect before the buzzer sounds on the deadline Thursday.
On a 1-10 scale, how likely is it that Charlotte makes a trade before the Thursday deadline? What improvement is most needed on this roster currently and give us a player that would be an ideal fix to you?
Spencer: 5 – I don’t think there’s any question that the front office wants to add a shooter to the roster for floor spacing around Al Jefferson, or a 6th man type of player who can come off the bench and be a ‘shot in the arm’ offensively.
Right now, all the asking prices are simply too high for Charlotte. Part of that is the Bobcats being patient and letting the market depict the value of certain players as the deadline approaches, but the other part is based around the fact that Charlotte will likely own Detroit’s 1st round pick (projected #10 currently) and teams are trying to figure out a way to fish that out of Jordan & Cho in return. I think it’s rather clear that the front office is desperate to improve offensively, but it’s also becoming increasingly transparent that they may not be willing to part ways with a 1st round pick – this is why I only have the likelihood of a trade at 50%. Not so sure that when this deadline is all said-and-done that most teams (even ones expected to make moves) end up standing pat due to this summers draft and the anxiety involved with potentially blowing the chance to land a great young player.
There are a few players that I really like as a fit for the Bobcats: Aaron Afflalo is the first – he’s averaging 19.4 PPG this season and shooting 42.7% from behind-the-arc. Really is the ideal fit for Charlotte when you consider what the team needs in terms of an offensive boost. Afflalo is also a very capable defender, so could presumably mesh well with Clifford. What it would take to land Afflalo is where the deal becomes more interesting. In order to get this deal done it would have to look something like this – ADD the DET or POR 1st round pick going to ORL as well. Charlotte would likely waive Price right away.
The other wild-card name that I would keep an eye on is Harrison Barnes – there are some reports out there that many teams have contacted Golden State about the SF and you better believe Charlotte has been one. Barnes is unhappy with his role with the Warriors and he doesn’t really appear to be an integral part of their immediate future – a MKG – Barnes swap is something I believe both parties would be willing to at least discuss.
Greg: I’d say 9. They have too many loose assets not to spend a bit, with that Portland pick in particular seemingly earmarked for a deal. I doubt it’ll be anything huge, though; I’m expecting something along the lines of the now-defunct trade with the Bucks that would have returned Gary Neal and Caron Butler. Adding a little depth and shooting would be great.
It seems unlikely, but I don’t think standing pat would hurt. Even with reinforcements, it’d be a stretch for this team to move into the fifth or sixth seed, which likely means annihilation at the hands of the Heat or Pacers. These Bobcats are good enough for right now, and it’d even be fine (if disappointing) if they dropped out of the playoffs: A three-percent chance at a top-three pick is probably better in the long run than a three-percent chance at beating LeBron. They have a fun, young, semi-competitive team, and I’m dreading the sort of short-sighted, cash-in trade the team has made in the past. Which, uh:
I’m not opposed to dealing young players (everyone on the roster should be available), but overpaying for marginal gains is why the team is where it is now. They’ve had a better track record on trades in recent years, so hopefully level heads prevail.
As far as the most-needed improvement: Shooting, shooting, shooting, particularly on the wing. I particularly liked this hypothetical from Rob Mahoney at Sports Illustrated, who suggested swapping Gerald Henderson with the Hawks’ Kyle Korver. Though he isn’t a very good individual defender, Korver has started for elite defenses before and does a good job of playing to his limitations there. Meanwhile, his elite three-point shooting could unlock an offense that’s struggled all year. Charlotte would be able to really punish defenses double-teaming Al Jefferson, just by adding Korver to the corner.
Though I like them both individually, the pairing of Henderson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has offensive limitations. It’s unlikely that Hendo will ever be a reliable three-point shooter, and Kidd-Gilchrist’s issues are pretty obvious. But between the two of them, I’d still hang on to MKG. He’s a very good, borderline elite defender, and at 20 still has room to grow a functioning offensive game. Henderson’s average across the board, which obviously has value in itself, but I’d rather have a specialist than a jack of all trades.
Either way, addressing that gap is probably the team’s biggest priority moving forward, whether they take care of it now or in the offseason.
Dakota: 9. While about 85% of the rumors tend to be false (being a little generous), Charlotte’s at the point where they’re going for one of the lower spots in the playoffs. As they currently stand, Charlotte is still a solid defensive team but are definitely in need of a solid offensive weapon after Jefferson or Walker. While a deal for a player at the level of Pau Gasol might be out of the question, I’d be interested to see them pursue a perimeter sharp-shooter or a solid defensive front-court option that you can put next to Jefferson, In terms of the front-court option, I really love the rumors surrounding Taj Gibson even though his price might be a little hefty. For perimeter options, I would like to see Anthony Morrow or Kyle Korver be considered as potential trade pieces.
– Doug Branson and Spencer Percy discussed everything trade deadline on last night’s PodCats Show, so if you’re more of a listener and less of a reader — HERE YOU ARE.