The Charlotte Bobcats are churning. Like, if you’ve ever made a salad all in one bowl, starting with the dressing, churning it up from the bottom, that’s the kind of turning over the Bobcats are currently engaged in. It makes me, as a fan entrenched in my own obsessions and what I think the team should look like, almost nostalgic for the past.
D.J. Augustin and his weirdo “inside source” are now gone, from the team and from our message boards. Corey Maggette, the latest line in a long line of middling “stars,” gone in favor of a much younger Ben Gordon and a draft pick. Paul Silas, not retained, a new coach that no one had heard of is now the much ballyhooed head coach that every fan hopes will turn things around.
I guess it all started with Michael Jordan himself. Could you imagine the timeline of the Charlotte Bobcats if he never came along? Bernie would be the GM still, no DJ, no Adam Morrison, all 30 or so of the deals of the Larry Brown era wouldn’t have happened. Bob Johnson would still be crapping all over Charlotte. Hell, he might have had the team moved.
But I don’t want to rehash all that. I do want to shed a little light on to why I feel disenfranchised. I’ve been in sales for a good part of my adult life. Really, all jobs are sales. But that’s a path I don’t want to run down right now. Who likes being sold more than anyone? Sales people. I love to watch a pitch, I loved the show with Billy Maze and that Anthony guy, I love Sharktank (even with Mark Cuban on there), I love to hear stories about how someone either sold someone or got a great deal on something. I love being sold. I’ve been buying in on the Bobcats since day one. I thought it was cool when Emeka Okafor showed up to the new downtown arena in his basketball uniform with a hardhat on for a promo video. Like he really knew what he was looking at on those blue prints…actually, ‘Mek might have helped redesign some stuff, he seems like that kind of dude. I have been on board with every draft pick, every free agent and most every trade. I hated the Okafor trade because I had been sold on Okafor for 5 years and bought in hook line and sinker.
So, what have we as fans of the Bobcats been sold in the last year or so? Kemba Walker? Bismack Biyombo? I don’t know. Doesn’t feel like it. Other than the press tour on the open air bus around uptown just before the lockout, not so much. Gerald Henderson? I don’t know about that so much either. Seems like they’ve been keeping him on a back burner for some reason. Now, D.J. Augustin may have been the most sold and marketed player the Bobcats have had in recent years. He was the longest tenured other than Matt Carroll. Of all the draft picks, he was the one that stuck around the longest. I felt somehow attached to DJ Augustin, and I’m not 100% sure why, but I think the marketing factor has something to do with it.
Point guards have that attachment as well, just naturally. If you were able to count the seconds that a particular player has the ball touching their hands, point guards would have that stat locked up over the rest put together. The pressure of being an NBA point guard, running a team, creating plays, reigning in turnovers, is huge. The emphasis is on them, because of either their ability to handle the ball, court vision or playmaking acuity or lack there of. DJ Augustin is top 5 in most offensive statistical categories, in Bobcats history. That may not mean much in the grand scheme, but it’s a big deal to a guy who has watched about 90% of the Bobcats games in their history.
I feel the same way only worse about Raymond Felton. When he was interviewed earlier this week about his return to the Knicks and he said he’s “returning home,” I was a little crushed. Sure, the Bobcats let him walk for nothing, but oh yeah, this is a business. Players don’t stick around. They don’t feel allegence to teams that didn’t treat them well. I have no right to feel this way, I understand that much but it still sucks in that little kid part of my brain.
If you’ve talked sports with me enough, you’ll know, I cried when I was about 7 or 8 and Mike Schmidt retired from the Phillies. That’s the part that gets going when there are these roster changes with my teams. I’ve not really broken myself from that. I don’t know if it’s a desire not to change, an attachment to certain players or just my own brain not keeping up with what it means to the product I’ll see on the court or field. You also get a feel for what a guy is like. In that way, I don’t like the not knowing with Ben Gordon, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Ramon Sessions. I’d almost prefer to keep guys like Corey Maggette, Derrick Brown or DJ, just because I know what I’m getting.
I’m not bitter. I don’t disagree with the moves. Sessions came in for nothing. It’s not like we had to send a pick to the Lakers. DJ left for nothing. So it’s a net gain when you factor in size and actual desire to be here. Ben Gordon has another year on his contract after this one, but he’s younger and has a bit more to offer than Maggette. You knew what you were getting with Maggette and Detroit ought to be happy to have that for a year and see where it takes them. Meanwhile, the Bobcats got a pick and a player. Never a loss when you get a pick.
I guess I’m just that guy who will always long for the days of Okafor/Felton/Wallace/Whoever and Whoever. I still miss Stephen Jackson. I miss Boris Diaw’s crazy fat ass too. I even miss Jason Richardson. I’ve got to move on and deal with it, ok, I’ve dealt with it. See ya DJ! You rotten bastard! How dare you not want to play for the Bobcats anymore. Good luck with that light contract in Indy! HaHA!