The season wasn’t supposed to go this way for the Charlotte Bobcats. Coming off the franchise’s first-ever playoff appearance last spring, there was an excitement surrounding the ‘Cats for 2010-11. New majority owner Michael Jordan was in office, star forward Gerald Wallace was a certified NBA All-Star, and swingman Stephen Jackson spent the summer getting in the best shape of his career and embracing his role as team leader.
The Bobcats were supposed to be good — or at least interesting. But almost two months into the campaign, Charlotte is 9-16, two spots out of playoff position and, honestly, one of the more boring teams to watch in the League. Within the past week they’ve been blown out twice by 30-plus points, and fans have had to watch two of last year’s starters, Ray Felton and Tyson Chandler, shine in their respective new locales in New York and Dallas after the Bobcats let Felton walk in free agency and traded Chandler for essentially two role players and cap space.
After getting smashed by the Grizzlies on Wednesday, coach Larry Brown said, “I had to get on them at halftime — beg them to play. That’s not what I’m supposed to be doing. … No effort, no teamwork, guys don’t run back. They blame it on the referees.”
According to the Charlotte Observer, the team is now looking to make major changes, including possibly trading Wallace and/or Jackson. Sources cited by the newspaper claim the Bobcats are gauging Wallace and Jackson’s respective trade value.
“It would not surprise me at all” if the Bobcats move one of their top players, one source said. “I will say I think they’re asking for a lot.”
Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins did not immediately return a phone message left early Thursday evening.
Trades have been standard practice for the Bobcats since Brown was hired as coach in April of 2008. Since then, the Bobcats have made nine trades involving 27 players. The only players who pre-date Brown’s arrival are Wallace and center Nazr Mohammed.
One source said it’s his impression the Bobcats are canvassing much of the league, to judge what they could do to salvage this season. Jordan told season ticket-holders in the preseason he expected the Bobcats to reach the playoffs and advance in them.
Jordan also said he’d prefer not to continue churning the roster with trades. But that was before the Bobcats started playing so poorly. Jordan personally addressed the team after Saturday’s blow-out loss to Boston. Team personnel described Jordan’s remarks as stern and loud.
“I’d think they’re proposing different scenarios to different teams; maybe 15 or 20,” said one of the sources, adding that Chicago and Detroit might be two teams receptive to making a deal.
Who would you give up on your team’s roster to get Crash or Captain Jack?