We really need to get the conference room cleaned up...
You know, here at Trade Street Post, we strive to give you every game recap, any interview we can score, and any news nugget that we can find about our beloved Charlotte Bobcats. Other times we do not share emails that we all have back and forth among one another, when we decide to start discussing articles. We typically don’t discuss them here because we want our readers to start their own discussions and form their own opinions of the team, the players, and the staff. Our goals here are to keep it real…and we often share our opinions to a certain degree. The point of this article is one to show everyone that we do not always agree. We also have discussed and determined that we want to add a goal to our site. We have always had it, but we want to actually state this one, so you know what’s going on. Last season drew a lot of BAD publicity to the team. So bad, in fact, that the media doesn’t even care if we’re accidentally called the Charlotte Hornets. The respect tank was drained and put into dry storage. With that said, our goal is to educate the fans. We want the Bobcats fans, whether die hard, casual, or first time fans, to understand specifically what are good things and bad things that the Bobcats do. We want to explain moves we make and don’t make, and why they are and are not made. Never do we wish to make a fan feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. We never want to come across as being “holier than thou” either. We’re fans just like you guys. We sometimes agree to disagree.
So, without any further ado, I’d like to share a discussion that the other 3 authors had as I was writing and posting the “Back to Earth” article. We don’t always agree, and I want the fans to see that we’re fans too, and we don’t candy coat anything. We keep it real!
This is the full discussion, in order of email receipts, of the Trade Street Post Staff after the game against the Thunder:
TSP Matt Thomas: I kinda figured this kind of game was coming. That's ok, because now we don't need to be scared about almost making the playoffs and not being in the lottery. It’s hard to beat OKC firing on all cylinders.
TSP Andrew Lail: Just wrote a 2100 word article by this very name...look for it after lunch.
TSP Bruce Barker: I have to strongly disagree. Bismack and Gerald were both still out with injuries. It wouldn't have made ALL the difference, but it would have made a difference. Blowouts happen. To me, it simply illustrates exactly what I've been saying. This season's team is good enough to make it into the playoffs, but still at least 1-2 players away from title contention. We play the Western (stronger) Conference teams less frequently than we do the Eastern. I see this team coming it close to or over .500 and in the East that's good enough for a 6 or 7 playoff seed. Goodbye first round pick, goodbye lottery... hello "unable to get any better with a cheap owner" hell.
TSP Andrew: Well, Jordan said he would open the vault if things started unfolding in that direction. He’s backed off to let Cho be in charge, so we’ll see if this comes to fruition as well.
TSP Bryan Beck: These games happen and we can't blow them out of proportion. Just burn the tape and move on. It is, however, a reality check of how much further we have to go. Personally, I don't see this team making the playoffs. Through the Washington game, we had played by far the weakest schedule in the NBA based on winning percentage of opponents. Over the next 3+ weeks, we play one team with a losing record. I'm afraid we're about to take a tumble in the standings and that's okay. What I like is that, last night withstanding, we're competitive and the players are continuing to grow. Good things are in store but I sort of feel like the playoffs are a fantasy this season. If we hang in there by the All Star break, I may change my mind. But I'm guessing we'll be pretty good at home and will get our brains beat out on these road trips most of the season.
TSP Bruce: What I'm seeing (and it isn't very dissimilar to your opinion Bryan) is the talent disparity between the two conferences deepening dramatically. I think that by and large the Western Conference teams are going to pick us apart quicker than pork loins at a Lexington BBQ. OTOH, I think that as we've risen, much of the Eastern Conference has weakened. Miami aside, where is the real power? Detroit? Boston? I just don't see eight teams in the Eastern Conference that are better than what the Bobcats are becoming. Again, Miami aside, show me one team that won't plunge into a losing skid at the first injury to a solid starter. This is a long season and such an injury will happen to at least half the teams in the conference. When I ran my way through the schedule, I only had us winning 3 games in November, and 4 in December. We've already equaled that total over a month early. While I didn't have us winning over 30, we're already doing better than I had optimistically hoped for. While the 2nd half of the season gets rougher for a large number of the Eastern teams - swings out to the West Coast, etc. But the post All-Star schedule for the Bobcats gets significantly easier. From where I'm sitting, I see a real danger that the Cats will make it into the post-season. I absolutely HATE the idea of wishing the guys ill (although the irony isn't lost on me) but I really think it may take an injury (or two) that takes Ramon Sessions or Mully out of the lineup for a few key weeks to ensure we end up back in the lottery.
I also know that next season is ours to take it all. We have the money to keep Mullens and have MORE than enough left over to broker a deal for either an additional lottery pick or a much higher one than we draw in the pool. Depending on how that all plays out (and I absolutely refuse to speculate on the depth of the draft when we're not even 20 games deep in this season yet) we'll still have the coin to afford a hell of a free agent for the bench. To be honest, I'm not against packaging Bismack if that’s what it takes to get the job done. I think he has a fairly high ceiling, but I don't think he'll approach it with enough seasons remaining in his legs to be an impact player for long.
What a weird season this is turning out to be.
TSP Andrew: I see mention of resigning Mullens...but no mention of Hendo...
Are we thinking that he may be gone via trade or sign and trade due to the fast development of MKG and Taylor?
TSP Bryan: I'm not so sure. I think we would entertain the idea of trading Hendo more than Mullens but I bet we'll let the market set their price since we can match offers for both next summer. We have time to be patient and see how they progress this season.
I'm taking a wait and see approach for now. I think the sample size is too small to make long-term projections but I will say 2 things.
1) They have already far exceeded my expectations
2) I'm guessing we'll regress to the mean over the course of the season. It just takes awhile to build something from the ground up in the NBA.
TSP Bruce: I'm expecting a sign and trade. Henderson's position is easier to replace than it would be to find a forward with a developing 3-point range. He's also proven himself as an asset for the right team. I'd like to see him kept, but I just think he's the most expendable of our expiring contracts as well as having the most value.
TSP Andrew: We should have room to sign them both if we want them back too. Diop will be off the books and I’d bet that Tyrus already knows that amnesty is in his future. Subtracting those guys nets us $16mil. If you look at all of the team and guaranteed contracts, if we don’t exercise an option on Warrick and we cut Higgins, We’re flirting with having $18mil in guaranteed salaries. I’d almost say that the vault would have to open to be certain that our salary is at the league minimum. When it opens, it won’t hurt MJ that much. Kemba, Biz, MKG, Taylor, Haywood, Sessions have guaranteed money, and Ben Gordon has a player option that I can’t imagine him not taking.
TSP Matt: I really can't imagine a situation where we make the playoffs. It's a matter of teams getting into their chemistry. Detroit will start winning games, and for that matter, Washington once they are healthy. Toronto is not as beatable as they've been in the past and will continue to improve. I think we're enjoying a culmination of the fact that all of our players are bought in, we're more prepared (right now) than most teams, and we have the surprise of rookies that haven't been game-planned for yet. Not to mention one of the easiest starting schedules known to man. I never thought I'd be the one hoping we wouldn't win more games, but I just don't see it happening. Miami, Boston, New York, Brooklyn, Indiana, Atlanta, Chicago (they will skyrocket when D-Rose gets back), Milwaukee, Detroit, or even Toronto will finish ahead of us. We're a 30-win team, tops.
Bobcats fans…what do YOU think? Hopefully we’ve pointed out some things to make you go hmmm…
We’d love to hear what is on your mind. Perhaps we can pick each other’s brains and get everyone on the same page. I’m up for anything to make the fan base stronger.
Let’s go CATS!