Brendan Haywood and Ramon Sessions aren’t the flashiest of NBA players. But the Bobcats added much needed depth at center and point guard, key positions where they looked pretty shaky.
The Bobcats will pay ex-Laker Sessions $5 million each of the next two seasons to play point guard, presumably as Kemba Walker’s backup. They claimed Haywood off secondary waivers after the Mavericks waived him under the amnesty clause. The Bobcats will pay a little more than $2 million each of the next three seasons as a portion of what the Mavericks still owe him.
Haywood might start at center. At minimum he’ll add some shot-blocking and rebounding to a team that was gruesome last season at protecting the rim from layups and dunks. The Bobcats have gotten little from veteran center Gana Diop, and two other big men — Byron Mullens and Bismack Biyombo — are still learning the game in general and specifically how new coach Mike Dunlap can best use them.
The Bobcats shot higher in free agency, recruiting Kris Humphries, who re-signed with the Nets, and Antawn Jamison, who is signing with the Lakers to pursue a title late in his career. The Bobcats had an in with Jamison, who grew up in Charlotte and still lives there in the offseason. Jamison was attracted to staying home his last two NBA seasons to live with his four children but ultimately chose a shot at a championship.
The Bobcats have also investigated the availability of free agent power forward Carl Landry, and there’s still some hope that Landry might sign with them. But he’s also being pursued by the Warriors and has indicated a desire to play for a contender.
Not signing another power forward leaves the position up to Mullens, Biyombo and Tyrus Thomas, who is coming off a particularly disappointing season as a Bobcat.
–Once Kris Humphries and Antawn Jamison chose other teams, the Bobcats chose not to use the amnesty clause by the mid-July deadline. Had they done so, Gana Diop ($7.3 million) or shooting guard Matt Carroll ($3.5 million) likely would have been cut. Now Diop’s and Carroll’s expiring contracts could have trade value. If the Bobcats use amnesty next summer, the only logical candidate would be Tyrus Thomas, who is still owed about $26 million over three seasons.
–Coach Mike Dunlap used a zone defense and considerable three-quarter court trapping during the Las Vegas summer league. He wants to run and press more than the typical NBA team. As he frequently put it, the Bobcats might have to try strategies more talented teams don’t have to employ.
–The Bobcats rescinded qualifying offers to point guard D.J. Augustin and small forward Derrick Brown, making both those players unrestricted free agents. Augustin quickly signed with the Pacers. Brown is still on the market.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
“When I sat down with Mike and I heard him explaining what he’s capable of doing, I said I can play for this guy. … If that’s a guy I can play for, that’s a guy everybody can play for.” — Bobcats owner and former NBA great Michael Jordan on selecting Mike Dunlap as coach.