Claw 2 Claw: Which Bobcat Should Get Amnestied?
When the new CBA becomes official on Thursday, there will be an amnesty provision that allows each team the opportunity to buy out one of its players and not have their salary count against the salary cap or luxury tax. TSP's Matt and Bryan now debate which current Bobcats might fall victim to the new CBA provision.
Matt Thomas: Someone once asked me what sucked harder than a collapsed star. The correct answer is Corey Maggette's defense. This guy is set to make $10Mil+ over the next two years (!!!!!!!!). Seems like an obvious candidate for amnesty doesn't it? The Bobcats sent Livingston and Jax to the Bucks for this guy and a pick. The downside of this trade was paying Maggette, so what could be better than having our cake and eating it too? We shed around $21 MILLION (!!) off the books for the next two years and put the Cats in a fantastic financial situation when it comes to acquiring free agents. Yes, it will still be difficult to lure them here, BUT it will be marginally easier with the new "harder" soft cap. Here's the other side of this argument; say we want to "Suck For Luck". I know, it's a football reference, but the idea is the same. Sure, there's no telling where we'll land in the lottery, but our chances of landing IN the lottery are far better without Corey Maggette throwing up shots with absolutely no conscious. Seeing as the Bobcats have absolutely no true rebound-hound, the sheer number of missed shots should double our opponents rebounding on any given night. Granted, for his career, he has averaged 16.2 pts, 2.1 assists, and 5 rebounds a game. Regardless of how bad Diop and Diaw's contracts are, both combined do not equal the amount we'd save by getting rid of Maggette's contract.
Bryan Beck: Well, Maggette is an obvious candidate and I'll match it with an even more obvious candidate: Diop. I mean, who wouldn't want to pay an aging center coming off a torn Achilles $7 million per season for the next two years? Not to mention he averages somewhere in the ballpark of 2 points and 2 rebounds a game. And although you have an obvious "passion" for electing Maggette, he is at least productive and has a discernible skill with his scoring ability. Diop can be an effective backup center because he is a good defender and shot blocker but centers with this stat line make the vet minimum, not $7 million per season. Diop is my first candidate.
Matt Thomas: Fair enough. But how about Matt Carroll? The definition of "Fan Favorite" could not be more clearly defined as a guy that puts forth a ton of effort and simply doesn't get consistent results. People love this guy for his tenacity, his work ethic, and the fact he's an all around pleasing guy. Problem is, his contract sucks. Matt Carroll, buddy, your contract has got to go. He was dumped off in the trade that netted us the worst contract in the NBA (Diop) and we were the ones that did it to ourselves. We signed Matt Carroll to FAR too large of a contract and then we used it as leverage to get something even worse. Now, we're stuck with both. Granted, he does expire following the 2012-2013 season but that's a long time for a rebuilding team. He's not a long-term option, he doesn't have a lot of future upside, and his contract isn't good. There's not a whole lot else to say about Matt Carroll; I personally, really like the guy.
Bryan Beck: That makes sense too but I'll propose an option a little outside of the box; Boris Diaw. I know this is the final year of his contract so we can simply let him play out the season and expire or try to deal him at the trade deadline in a few months. But other than Maggette, using the amnesty on Diaw would save the most cash this season, wiping $9 million off the books. We also have a roadblock at the PF position and playing the senior Diaw is holding up the development of our young PFs; Thomas, White, and Biyombo. If we let Diaw go, the young guys get more time to develop and don't have to worry about Diaw plowing them over on the streets of Charlotte with his Segway. I know he is arguably the most talented player on the current roster but on a team full of young energetic players, the laissez faire attitude from Boris is getting old. Plus, the amnesty clause does require MJ to actually pay the remainder of the contract and $9 million is easier to swallow than $21 million (for Maggette).
Matt Thomas: Technically, we don't have to use the amnesty clause at all or can wait to use it next summer if we so choose. Do you think there is a chance the Bobcats choose not to use the amnesty this season?
Bryan Beck: Yes. And the more I think about it, the less likely I think the Cats are to use it right away. Most experts think Charlotte is a lock to use the provision on Diop or Maggette but I'm not sure common sense agrees with that idea. In theory, the amnesty clause is intended to do one of two things: 1) keep a team under the luxury tax, or 2) free up some cap space to sign a free agent next week to help out this season. The Bobcats aren't sniffing the luxury tax and given the team's direction, I don't foresee us being big players in the free agent market. So it probably makes sense to keep these players on the roster and let them contribute.
Matt Thomas: Good point. The concept of paying a player not to play doesn't make a lot of sense unless you're accomplishing one of those two objectives. For instance, we could end up amnestying Diop and then losing Kwame in free agency. This would leave us with no centers on the roster and we would still be paying Diop anyway. Might as well keep him around to clog space, score 1 point, get 2 rebounds, block 2 shots, and injure a ball boy with an errant free throw!
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