The Other Side: Charlotte Bobcats
The Charlotte Bobcats need to change their nickname. The TradeCats? The RemodelCats? The TinkerCats? The What-Are-We-Doing-Cats? This season, the Bobcats have undergone a makeover seemingly every month. They made deals in December (for Boris Diaw and Raja Bell), January (for DeSagana Diop) and February (for Vladimir Radmanovic). The Bobcats have used a league-high 23 different players this season and, they might not be done before next Thursday's trade deadline (more on that later).
The first few months of this season confirms all of those stories about how Coach Larry Brown constantly falls in and out of love with players and makes trade demands as often as he slips on his next Armani suit. Brown has managed to convince Managing Partner Michael Jordan to ship out the Bobcats' leading scorer last season (Jason Richardson) and Jordan's first draft pick since taking over basketball operations (Adam Morrison). At some point, the players will be together long enough to actually become a team. "Here, we're like the Salvation Army. Guys come in here and they get more of an opportunity,'' Brown said.
Thanks to the Eastern Conference cesspool, which makes every team except the Washington Wizards a playoff contender, the Bobcats are just 3 ½ games out of the eighth spot despite being 11 games below .500. They just snapped a five-game losing streak with a 94-73 win against the lowly Los Angeles Clippers. It was their first win since Gerald Wallace suffered a fractured rib and partially collapsed lung in a collision with Andrew Bynum on Jan. 27. Before Wallace's injury, the Bobcats had shown some progress last month, recording wins against the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston, Detroit, Portland and Phoenix.
Charlotte is 2-0 this season against the Wizards, who will face the latest incarnation of the Bobcats tonight at Time Warner Cable Arena. Here's what else you need to know about the Bobcats in the Wizards' final game before the all-star break:
1. Michael Jordan Says, 'My Bad'
In a rare conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Michael Jordan admitted that he has made a few gaffes as a front office executive -- including his decisions to select Kwame Brown No. 1 overall in 2001 for the Washington Wizards, and using the third pick in 2006 on Adam Morrison, who was recently traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Jordan defended the Brown selection by saying, "If we don't take Kwame Brown at No. 1, he's going at 2. No matter how you look at it, everybody had him on their radar as being the top pick. We just so happened to be the top pick and we chose him. It didn't pan out and we take the brunt of that. We understand that. It's the risk that you take." You can read the full Q&A here.
2. Raymond Felton Is in Trade Rumors Again
Bobcats point guard Raymond Felton has been mentioned in trade rumors all season. Felton will be a restricted free agent and the Bobcats are leery of signing him to a lucrative deal since he hasn't shown much improvement -- and the team already has his replacement in place with rookie D.J. Augustin. Earlier this season, he was rumored to be headed to Golden State, and now ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan is reporting that Charlotte is trying to ship him to Indiana for ... Jamaal Tinsley? The trade is quite confusing since Indiana already has two decent points in T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports that there is nothing "active" about talks between the Pacers and Bobcats. Jordan also told Bonnell that the Bobcats are interested in re-signing Felton. Oh well.
3. Gerald Wallace Is Coming Back After the All-Star Break
Gerald Wallace plays basketball like a crash dummy, a reckless style that leaves him prone to injury. His collision with Andrew Bynum two weeks ago was one of the most wince-inducing moments of the season -- especially the sound of Wallace screaming in pain after Bynum knocked him to the floor with a forearm. Wallace suffered a collapsed lung, spent two nights in the hospital and was forced to take a 2,400-mile bus ride from Los Angeles to North Carolina. Wallace recently spoke about the long ride to ESPN's Page 2. Wallace said he has seen the replay and didn't think Bynum hurt him intentionally. He added that while his lung capacity is not back to where it was, he expects to return on Jan. 20 against Orlando.
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