Let’s Make A Deal: Charlotte’s Pitch for an Effective Big Man


December 26, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol (16) drives to the basket during the first half against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a popular daytime television show enjoyed my many Baby Boomers, as well as Wayne Brady fans, across America.

Let’s Make A Deal has provided everyone through the years with laughter and enjoyment as people dressed in goofy attire hope to win big by risking what they have on various games of chance.  It’s about time Charlotte got in on the fun.

I’m all for Charlotte continuing to improve through the NBA Draft as the team continues to follow GM Rich Cho’s idea of growing together to form a powerhouse out of the Southeast Division.  Yet I can’t stand the idea of watching missed opportunities for the Cats to get something in return with so many expiring contracts still on the books.

Currently, Charlotte has four players under contract in the last year of their respective deals, and the odds are against all of them for making a return to the team next year (SG Gerald Henderson, SF Reggie Williams, PF/C Byron Mullens, C DeSagana Diop).  While all players can add something to any team in the league (slashing, defensive guard; 3-point specialist on the wing; big-man who stretches the floor; big-man who clogs the lane and eats up minutes), none have shown major offensive improvements this season for a team that sorely needs them.  Mullens is the only one of the four to improve his shooting numbers throughout this season (11.6 ppg as opposed to 9.3 ppg); however, his field-goal percentage has taken an unfortunate dip in the process (.425% to .371%).

With this in mind, it’s time Charlotte started shopping these players in the hopes of getting draft picks in return, or other players with expiring contracts that better fit Charlotte’s new team motto of “Tougher Faster Stronger” than the current group of players with one-year-remaining contracts.

Yet trading one-year players for other one-year players seems slightly insignificant if Charlotte is to actually try to build for the future; simply replacing athletes for another four months won’t help the team beyond May.  Instead, it’s time the good men of the Bobcats’ front office made a run at a legitimate powerhouse player.

A player who can help Charlotte to fulfill the team motto of “Tougher Faster Stronger”.

A player who can bring experience to a young team, and who’s under contract for at least the next two seasons.

A player whose trade stock has plummeted as of late, making now one of the only times Charlotte could make a significant run at him.

Ladies and gentleman, your newest Charlotte Bobcat: Pau Gasol.

Gasol brings everything Charlotte finds themselves without: experience (regular season and playoff), size, strength, rebounding skills, and an offensive post game.  Also, after underperforming alongside of Dwight for most of the season (career worst 12.2 ppg, .416% from the field) and coming back from a recent concussion he suffered, Gasol’s trade stock has never been lower, making it the perfect time for Michael Jordan & Co. to act.  In the meantime, Charlotte can send one of several packages back Los Angeles’ way that would help the Lakers make a run at the playoffs.

Henderson, Williams, Mullens & Diop: Henderson and Williams would be decent bench options off the bench to allow Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace some well deserved rest.  Meanwhile, Mullens could play the power forward position and do what he does best; step out of the paint and shoot jumpers.  This will allow Dwight Howard to roam around freely in the paint, and Mullens the opportunity to pull the trigger without hesitation.  Diop would also prove to helpful in allowing Howard plenty of rest as he continues to try and recuperate from his early season back problems.

Henderson/Mullens, Diop & Tyrus Thomas: Now this is the deal I’m sure most Charlotte fans wouldn’t mind seeing happen.  While some may not care for the inclusion of Henderson and/or Mullens in any of these scenarios, this last one allows for the Cats to shed Thomas’ horrible contract and rid themselves of the mistake that was made one too many losses ago.  Thomas would also allow the Lakers to continue to rest their current big men in their rotation, such as Howard, rookie Robert Sacre, and the veteran Antawn Jamison.

While none of these deals will probably be complete without a few exchanged draft picks (something ESPN’s Trade Machine fails to simulate), it’s about time Charlotte made some moves.

It’s time to make a deal.  Let’s just hope that Charlotte doesn’t get Zonked in the process.