The Bobcats And The Crystal Ball

The apparent strategy of gunning for the playoffs this year at the cost of bad contracts that limit the team’s future ceiling makes sense if the current owners plan on sticking around until the economy picks back up, squirreling away some funds, and then rebuilding with another five year plan at a time when it’ll be easier to take those losses, meaning a seven or eight year plan. It’s a strategy for an owner who plans to be around for the long haul. Given our current strategy, it seems longer odds that a new owner would take over this team now with all its obligations, sit through the current contracts, and then rebuild. Maybe Bob Johnson, et al, have put selling on hold for a year or two.

via Gauging the Bobcats’ Intentions – Rufus on Fire.

Let’s break the options down into scenarios, starting with the most likely and heading to least likely. Shall we?

  • There is no plan. Bob Johnson wants to sell, but isn’t communicating with staff, or if he’s communicating with Jordan, Jordan’s ignoring him and telling LB to do what he wants. LB is doing what he thinks is best without any concern for the future because it’s like a hotel room for him. He can wreck it and wreck it and yeah, it might cost him some money, but in the end, it won’t be his mess to clean up. He can just pay the bill and walk, and still have stolen the towels.
  • The Bobcats’ organization has decided the best plan is to proceed like there will be no sale due to the economic downturn. And in pursuit of getting out of the red, the objective is to make the playoffs. To that end, Larry Brown feels that the best way to go about it is to acquire veterans that he won’t have to baby or develop. Likewise, since there are no affordable veterans in free agency that would want to come to Charlotte, trading must be the way to go, even if it damages the future of the franchise. Every contract has to expire sometime, right?
  • Larry Brown actually feels this is the best team he can field. He’s also cuckoo for Cocoa-Puffs.
  • The Bobcats understand that they will not be players in the 2010 free agency bonanza. Their market size and lack of an established star or winning tradition makes them a severe underdog in any free agency pursuit. Therefore, they should not target 2010, but 2011 and 2012 in the wake of 2010. While the quality of free agents won’t be as high, neither will the level of competition (in this scenario you have to believe that the big-money entities in 2010 will spend their available cap space to a large degree, even if they miss out on the big names, in an effort to appease their fanbase and not cause riots outside the box office), and the cap will likely be higher. In the 2011 summer, they’ll have only $35 million on the books (if they were to not extend either D.J. Augustin, Alexis Ajinca, or Gerald Henderson- and they’re unlikely to re-sign them for large contracts given performance, though I see good things from Henderson) with a butload in either expiring, or next-year-QO contracts. The Bobcats would be in prime position to either A. expunge as much as they can by trading Gerald Wallace’s expiring (he’ll likely opt-out) and Boris Diaw’s expiring and start completely from scratch with a big-name free agent, or B. turn those contracts into something useful, an unhappy star, a top pick (HARRISON BARNES FTW), or some combination thereof. By avoiding the rush on 2010, they ensure they don’t overpay for the also-rans in an expensive year, don’t commit to anything that could be damaging after the CBA negotiations, and set themselves up to truly build a winning foundation, likely behind another coach.  This is what I tell myself as I fall asleep at night, and the reality of it not being true wakes me from my dreams and causes me to fall right back asleep because, well, it’s the Bobcats and I’m not that obsessed.
  • Larry Brown and Michael Jordan are aware that the world ends in 2012 so this is all meaningless anyway.
  • Mom jeans. That’s not actually a scenario, I just like mentioning that Michael Jordan wears mom jeans a lot.

Matt Moore

Matt Moore is a Senior NBA Blogger for CBSSports.com's Eye on Basketball blog, weekend editor of Pro Basketball Talk on NBCSports.com, and co-editor of Voice on the Floor. He lives in Kansas City due to an unbelievably complex set of circumstances and enjoys mid-90's pop rock, long walks on the beach and the novels of Tim Sandlin.