The Charlotte Bobcats announced today that they have traded centers Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinca for former Bobcat guard Matt Carroll, forward Eduardo Najera and center Erick Dampier, along with cash considerations.
Carroll started 81 games for the Bobcats over his 289 game career in the Queen City, and still holds the team record for Free Throw Percentage at .849%. He played parts of the last two seasons in Dallas after being traded in January 2009 along with Ryan Hollins for DeSagana Diop. Carroll has just below 12 million dollars left on his contract over the next three years, though that amount is front loaded.
Najera is a 6’8 forward who will make the Bobcats his fifth team in 11 seasons. A second round pick in 2000, he started his career in Dallas, and made stops in Golden State, Denver, and New Jersey before being sent back to Dallas this past season. He has 5.6 million owed to him over the next two seasons, and like Carroll his contract is decreasing.
Dampier is a 6’11 center who has played for Indiana, Golden State and Dallas in his 14 seasons. He likely will not play for the Bobcats as his 13 million dollar contract is not guaranteed, meaning he can be waived at any time prior to the season with no penalty to the ‘Cats.
General Manager Rod Higgins said after the trade was announced that “Our main goal this offseason was finding a way to reshape this roster and continue the momentum we have established. While it’s always difficult to give up key pieces of your team, we believe this deal will give financial flexibility and the ability to improve our team at the same time.”
Chandler was acquired last summer for Emeka Okafor, and missed much of last winter with foot and ankle problems. He averaged 6.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in 50 games with the Bobcats. Ajinca, the 20th overall pick of the 2008 draft, played just 37 games with the team, spending much of his time in the D-League.
What this means for Bobcats fans is that there is likely another move on the way. Dampier’s contract situation allows the team to pursue a player like Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, or Andris Beidrins, among others reportedly available. While this move will place the Bobcats over the luxury tax for the moment, it’s highly unlikely the team will remain around that figure. If you don’t know how to bet on the NBA then I suggest you sign up for a top NBA handicapper. Were the team to be unable to find a suitor for Dampier, he could be waived to allow the team a chance at free agents such as Flip Murray, Shaquille O’Neal, or Will Bynum.
As far as Carroll and Najera are concerned, this shores up the second unit for the ‘Cats. Carroll is an excellent long-range shooter and provides a third man at the Shooting Guard position behind Stephen Jackson and Gerald Henderson. Najera likely will back up the newly re-signed Tyrus Thomas, and shows that Boris Diaw is almost assuredly on his way out of town.
Also, it’s worth noting that the rumored trade of Tyson Chandler and Boris Diaw to Toronto for Reggie Evans and Jose Calderon is now dead, as Najera is very similar to Evans and a Diaw/Calderon swap makes little sense value wise for the ‘Cats.