Tuesday, July 28

Okafor for Chandler?!?!

Last night I was eating at Moe's (WELCOME TO MOE'S), it was $5 chicken-only Joey night, when I nearly spat my queso out over something I thought I saw go by on the crawl beneath the Cardinals-Dodgers game, "...eka Okafor for Hornet's C Tyson Chandler."

WHAT?!?? Why? How? Who? The Bobcats have only made a few successful draft picks, Okafor being one (at least relative to the others, and within his draft class). He's the rock and face of the franchise, an original Bobcat, he shot 56% from the field last season and he's a double double machine. OK, maybe machine is a bit generous, but he's a double double source. Put it this way, he's a double-double source only by nature of our base-10 counting system. If we admired 11 the way we do 10 he'd only have produced a single double double season once, and his points aren't that far ahead of his rebounds.

Anyways, I tried to legitimize the deal from the booth at Moe's. They're probably the same age (since Chandler entered the league from high school). It is likely a salary dump, they're just not reporting that Nazr Mohammed is included in the deal.

As I returned home and was able to look into all the details a few things became obvious and the deal came into focus. 1) Larry Brown doesn't like Okafor, for all his hard work 'Mek doesn't have the basketball instincts or ability that Brown wants. 2) Okafor has a 6 year contract while Chandler has a 2 year deal for less average money. 3) The 'Cats are not significantly worse with Chandler than they are with 'Mek (this one has a huge condition, that Chandler can stay healthy).

All in all two main things make me happy about this trade. The Bobcats are making business decisions. The easy way out would be to let Okafor's permanence with the team blind them, but they're making a tough choice for the good of the team (think of the Panthers letting Dan Morgan or Will Witherspoon go). They're also planning for being good in the future, not just mediocre. If this deal works they will have cap space in 2011 without being significantly worse next year. This allows for the team to get much better that year as opposed to settling for sneaking into the playoffs as the number eight seed.

This year the deal favors the Hornets, who get a quality big man and about 1 mil of cap relief, but from 2011 to 2014 they'll be paying 30+ year old Emeka Okafor 12 mil per year to be an undersized, aging bench player. In the NBA cap space is as valuable as not screwing up draft picks, the Bobcats seem to be learning at least one of these lessons.

Cason is much more NBA knowledgable than I, so that said any thoughts Mr. Dwyer?