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Old 03-13-2009, 09:56 AM   #1
rufuspaul
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Default Bonnell article on Felton

Of course this probably means that Raymond is gone by July.

Quote:
Bobcats may hold onto Felton

Failure in free-agent talent-raiding could prompt management to hold fast on point guard.

By Rick Bonnell
rbonnell@charlotteobserver.com
Posted: Friday, Mar. 13, 2009
COLUMNISTS »
Rick Bonnell

Rick Bonnell covers the NBA and Charlotte Bobcats for The Charlotte Observer. You can reach him by e-mail.
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Slideshow

  • It took little time for the Houston Rockets to retain forward Carl Landry (right) after the Bobcats made an offer. COLIN E. BRALEY – ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTO

  • The Cleveland Cavaliers' Anderson Varejao got offers from the Bobcats, but the Cavs matched the terms and kept him. TONY DEJAK – ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTO

  • Charlotte Bobcats head coach Larry Brown talks to point guard Raymond Felton in the first half against the Milwaukee Bucks at Time Warner Cable Arena on Saturday, November 22, 2008. YALONDA M. JAMES - yjames@charlotteobserver.com
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The current Charlotte Bobcats management is 0-for-2, trying to snatch restricted free agents off other rosters via offer sheets.

Sounds bad, but it might be good if that's any precedent. Because this summer the Bobcats could morph from predator to prey. Raymond Felton is available in July, and starting point guards are hard to find.

First, a history lesson: The Bobcats tried to upgrade at power forward each of the past two seasons through offer sheets. They promised to pay Anderson Varejao $17.3 million over three seasons in December of 2007. They promised Carl Landry $9 million over three seasons in the summer of 2008.

Nice gestures, but all the Bobcats did was lubricate the process for the teams with the right to match. The Cleveland Cavaliers retained Varejao. The Houston Rockets retained Landry. In each case, it took less than a day for those teams to accept the terms the Bobcats negotiated.

Ultimately it all worked out for the best. The Bobcats made a trade with the Phoenix Suns in December to acquire Boris Diaw. He's a better power forward than either Varejao or Landry, particularly as a complement to Emeka Okafor at center.

Diaw's passing makes the game easy for Okafor in a role Varejao or Landry (who shows up here tonight with the Rockets) never could have filled.

But let's get back to offer sheets and restricted free-agency. It's no sure thing. I checked with the league office to see how many offer sheets have been signed and how many were matched. Over the past five years, 12 of 28 offer sheets were matched by the retaining team. But over the past two seasons six of 10 have been matched.

That tells me two things: Teams are becoming more selective in attempting offer sheets and retaining teams are less willing to lose talent for nothing.

The problem with evaluating this data is each situation is unique. Had some team thrown a bundle at Ryan Hollins last summer, the Bobcats would have said, “More power to you. Lots of luck with that.” But the Cavaliers would have matched virtually any offer to Varejao, if only to send the message to LeBron James that they're driven to win a title.

Signing restricted free agents to offer sheets is a game of chicken. You win that game one of two ways. Either you pursue a guy who doesn't count for much to the other team, and they wish him well elsewhere. Or you overpay someone to such an extreme that the retaining team decides it's more trouble than it's worth.

The Bobcats' offer sheets to Varejao and Landry fell in neither of those slots, so they were matched. And that's where this winds back to Felton.

Whatever you think of Felton's flaws, he's the best the Bobcats have at a position crucial to success. Losing him would be a blow, because D.J. Augustin doesn't appear ready to take over yet, regardless of his potential.

The question becomes how do you retain him without vastly overpaying him? And I think this is all pulling together.

There are four teams with real salary-cap room this summer: Detroit, Oklahoma City, Atlanta and Memphis. None of those teams has a burning need for a point guard (though Oklahoma City had interest in Felton, in a 3-way deal where the Thunder would have discarded Earl Watson).

Do you think one of those teams will make a ridiculous offer for Felton as a restricted? I don't think so, either. The Bobcats' best route is to make a fair offer: Something that starts slightly above the mid-level exception and stretches three to five years.

That's just enough to scare off the competition without busting your budget in a down economy. And I suspect the Bobcats have figured this out, too.
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Old 03-13-2009, 10:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: Bonnell article on Felton

If I were Felton's agent I'd be pushing for the maximum I could get out of the Bobcats because he has one strong thing going in his favor:2010.

All those teams (20 +) are clearing salary for 2010, but odds are the bigger names will end up staying with their current teams...and even if they don't there's not enough premier FAs to go around. Felton could take the qualifying offer this upcoming season and then become an unrestricted free agent in 2010 where someone will overpay him.

For our sake I hope it doesn't come down to that.
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Old 03-13-2009, 11:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: Bonnell article on Felton

Charlotte's lucky that Felton's contract may terminate at the end of this season. Just as Bonnell mentioned, teams with cap space this summer don't have a hole at PG. Resign Felton at 7 million per year is a fair deal. I don't think Felton deserves more money than Calderon (8 mil/yr).

Let's hope Felton's agent won't brainwash Felton into another Ben Gordon
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Old 03-13-2009, 11:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Bonnell article on Felton

Quote:
Originally Posted by acidbasesalt
Charlotte's lucky that Felton's contract may terminate at the end of this season. Just as Bonnell mentioned, teams with cap space this summer don't have a hole at PG. Resign Felton at 7 million per year is a fair deal. I don't think Felton deserves more money than Calderon (8 mil/yr).

Let's hope Felton's agent won't brainwash Felton into another Ben Gordon

But it doesn't; he's a RESTRICTED free agent this year. I suppose we could actually rescind the qualifying offer, but then we're guaranteed to lose him for nothing.

I think Felton is better than Caleron (boy has no "d").
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Bonnell article on Felton

I still hope Felts sticks with the Cats.

For all I know Augustine will be Felton v2 in a couple of years.

I like Felton's passing ability, and even though he's barely shooting 40% he's the only one who can provide on demand scoring on the roster, cept for Augustine maybe.
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