I think the Charlotte Bobcats trading for Miami Heat big man Chris Bosh would turn out like when the Carolina Panthers acquired defensive lineman Sean Gilbert.
Gilbert played OK as a Panther. But the trouble the Panthers went to in acquiring him – sending two first-round picks to the Washington Redskins, plus signing Gilbert to a reported seven-year, $46 million contract – suggested he should have been way more than just OK.
Boston Globe NBA columnist Gary Washburn speculated in his Sunday notes column that since the Bobcats have abundant salary cap room and the need to make a big splash, then maybe trading for Bosh would make sense.
I don’t see it that way. Bosh is a complementary big man who generates most of his offense as a jump-shooter. The Bobcats need a low-post scorer, someone who can force the other team to double-team. That doesn’t sound like the Bosh I’ve watched in the playoffs.
Bosh has a very expensive contract. He’s owed three more seasons at a total cost of around $62 million. But he could also opt out of that deal before the 2014-15 season and the 2015-16 season.
So let’s say he comes to Charlotte and has a great season in 2013-14. He could then choose to become an unrestricted free agent and leave the Bobcats without compensation.
Worse yet, what if he underperformed, relative to his contract, in 2013-14? (Which very well could happen when opposing defenses focus primarily on him.) Then the Bobcats are stuck paying him more than $40 million over the following two seasons.
I just can’t see the merits of that risk, particularly if it involved sending the fourth pick to the Heat. The Bobcats have suffered through two awful seasons. They now have a high draft pick and considerable salary-cap flexibility. Bosh doesn’t strike me as worth giving up all those resources.