Bobcats' Michael Jordan Plots Next Move in Wake of Coaching Change
Michael Jordan showed that much on Wednesday, when the Charlotte owner sent the nomadic Larry Brown packing against his will and the North Carolina ties that had brought them together once again no longer mattered.
And as Jordan continues to plot ways of remaking this disappointment of a team, the conversations below him continue that could lead to more cold-hearted departures in the name of competitiveness.
League sources told FanHouse that the Bobcats and Portland have discussed a trade that would send beloved small forward Gerald Wallace to the Blazers with center DeSagana Diop and point guard D.J. Augustin in exchange for center Marcus Camby and point guard Andre Miller. And while the Blazers are exploring a litany of their own options and don't appear eager to do the deal as of now, the discussion that is one of many being had by the Bobcats reveals plenty about the sort of the on-court changes Jordan has in mind for his club.
He wants a point guard not named D.J. Augustin who comes with a veteran's resume and a veteran big man who produces on both ends of the floor. But it's the final prerequisite that is by far the most problematic for most scenarios being considered, as he wants to significantly cut future salary just in time for the new landscape that will come with a new collective bargaining agreement.
The Blazers deal would certainly do that next season, as Miller's contract is expiring (team option worth $7.8 for 2011-12) and Camby is owed $9.2 million in the last year of his deal while Wallace, Diop and Augustin are set to earn a combined $20.7 million. The savings are even greater in the subsequent season, as Wallace and Diop have player options worth a combined $18.7 million for the 2011-12 campaign (Augustin is a restricted free agent).
Change in Charlotte, it seems clear, is in the foreground and on the horizon. And it's not about to stop with the hiring of Paul Silas as an interim head coach.
The former Charlotte coach will be introduced today, at which time -- according to sources -- he will announce a coaching staff that includes his son and current Golden State assistant, Stephen Silas, longtime Jordan friend Charles Oakley, and Ralph Lewis. Muggsy Bogues and P.J. Brown have had discussions about joining the staff, and it's unclear whether they will do so.
"We're always monitoring how to improve our basketball team, and that hasn't stopped," Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins said in a conference call on Wednesday when asked about any potential trades. "We owe it to our community, our fan base, to try and improve. Part of the reason for this transaction (with Brown) is we haven't given up on the season and we want to try to get back into it, try to get back into the hunt.
"You have to think that we can get this team back on track with our team. Am I being naive? Maybe, but I firmly believe that this team is going to have an opportunity to get back on track."
At any cost, and hopefully with some cost-savings.
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