As president of basketball operations Rod Higgins put it recently, the Charlotte Bobcats are “shaking the tree,” looking for a deal before Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline that might help them this season and beyond.
That doesn’t mean anything will necessarily happen. However, the Bobcats have always been active shoppers in-season. Trading has actually been their “thing,” a more successful strategy than their drafts, by and large.
With all that in mind, Observer NBA writer Rick Bonnell takes a look at how they’ve done with in-season trades, and who might be able to help them, should those players be available:
Five Key In-Season Trades
Dec. 10, 2008: Acquired Boris Diaw, Raja Bell, Sean Singletary from Phoenix for Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley. Analysis: As badly as Diaw’s tenure here ended, he was a key piece of the Bobcats’ one playoff appearance. Bell ended up being a handy trade chip.
Nov. 16, 2009: Acquired Stephen Jackson and Acie Law from Golden State for Bell and Vladimir Radmanovic. Analysis: Bobcats took a chance on Jackson’s quirky personality and it paid off in reaching the playoffs.
Feb. 21, 2013: Acquired Josh McRoberts from Orlando for Hakim Warrick. Analysis: Was seen as a nothing deal at the time, but Bobcats got a starter at power forward – one of the best-passing big men in the NBA – for a player who washed out of the NBA.
Feb. 24, 2011: Acquired two future first-round picks, plus Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks and Joel Przybilla for Gerald Wallace. Analysis: Fans hated it emotionally because Wallace was an iconic player here, but the Bobcats got picks for a veteran who has been in physical decline ever since.
Jan. 3, 2007: Acquired Jeff McInnis from the New Jersey Nets for Bernard Robinson. Analysis: Charlottean McInnis came home to be a valuable mentor to Raymond Felton. A small move, but a wise one.
Two Trades That Backfired
Jan. 16, 2009: Acquired Gana Diop for Matt Carroll and Ryan Hollins. Analysis: Coach Larry Brown thought he could fix center Diop’s nonchalant attitude and unlock his potential. It never happened, wasting tens of millions.
Feb. 18, 2010: Acquired Tyrus Thomas from Chicago for Law, Flip Murray and a future first-round pick. Analysis: The Bobcats ended up waiving Thomas under the amnesty provision, swallowing many millions in guaranteed salary. Worse yet, they still owe that pick to the Bulls.
Five Players Who Might Help The Bobcats, Assuming They Are Available
The Bobcats are looking to make just their second playoff appearance in their decade-long history. Obviously they could use some help offensively, as they are 24th or worse among 30 NBA teams in scoring, field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage.
They have some potential assets to deal, in Ben Gordon’s expiring contract (a $13.2 million cap value) and future first-round picks owed them by Portland and Detroit.
With all that in mind, here’s a look at five veterans who have been mentioned as potentially available in trade:
Evan Turner, 76ers forward-guard: He averages 17.5 points, but he’s more a scorer than a shooter (43 percent from the field, 29 percent from 3-point range). The issue is whether Turner would be a long-term difference-maker on this team. He’s available because he expects a lot more in his next contract than the Sixers are willing to spend.
Arron Afflalo, Magic shooting guard: He’s averaging 19.4 points on a bad team. He’s a fine shooter – 46 percent from the field, 43 percent from 3-point range, 82 percent from the foul line. He makes $7.5 million this season, the same next season. He’d be an ideal sixth man, IF the Magic doesn’t want the moon to give him up.
Greg Monroe, Pistons power forward: An efficient, versatile big man averaging 14.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 52 percent from the field. If he’s available – and that’s maybe a reach – it’s because the Pistons overspent on Josh Smith and Monroe is approaching restricted free-agency. No way would Detroit give him up on the cheap.
Brandon Bass, Celtics big man: He could offer some scoring (10.8 ppg), rebounding (5.8 per game) and front-court experience. Is that worth giving up a first-round pick and taking on his salary? ($6.4 million this season, $6.9 million next). Bass would have to play with the reserves, because he’d get in the way of Al Jefferson in the post.
Gary Neal, Bucks guard: Neal has fallen out of favor in Milwaukee. He’s still averaging 10.2 points, but his shooting (39 percent from the field, 36 percent from 3-point) is less than impressive. He makes $3.25 million this season and next.
Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell