Big salaries no longer guarantee playing time

March 8, 2012

Bobcats coach Paul Silas has taken back command of his team, contracts and salaries be damned.

At the All-Star break, team president Rod Higgins said he wanted Silas to use the rest of the season to judge who competed among the 15 players. Silas has recently used that as a mandate to bench some of the highest-paid players on this roster.

Boris Diaw ($9 million this season) was deactivated for the 99-93 loss to the Jazz on Wednesday. Tyrus Thomas ($7.3 million) and Gana Diop ($6.9 million) were in uniform, but didn't play.

And yet Eduardo Najera did play, despite going scoreless in 24 minutes. But Silas was making a point to his other players.

"He's got toughness," Silas said of Najera. "He'll take charges, which nobody else does. He battles. And that's a signal to everyone that we need that. He's one of the few who will do that."

Silas indicated he has the blessing of management to dole out minutes based on effort and production, not contractual obligations.

"Nobody said anything to me about who should play and when they should play."

The Bobcats play the Nets Friday in Charlotte.


-If it wasn't already clear that Diaw is totally out of favor playing for Silas, then Wednesday clinched it. He's gone from a guy who played 384 consecutive games to a guy benched for the Magic game to a guy who wasn't allowed to suit up for the Jazz game. One way or another -- a trade or a buyout -- it's apparent Diaw needs to be somewhere else before the end of the season.

-Wednesday's game was one of the more dramatic examples this season of the Bobcats' inability to defend in the lane. The Jazz scored 54 points in the paint and converted 16 offensive rebounds into 35 second-chance points. Don't you know they'd love the No. 1 pick to draft Kentucky rebounder-shotblocker Anthony Davis.


"I think if he had played all out, the way he should have, it would have been a much, much better club." -- Silas on Diaw's lack of intensity.