Yesterday The Charlotte Bobcats completed the trade of guard Keith Bogans for the Houston Rockets’ Lonnie Baxter. On the surface this doesn’t seem to make that much of a difference for the Bobcats, However if handled correctly as a precursor to another deal or two prior to the February 23rd deadline then this could work out well for the Bobcats. Bernie Bickerstaff’s premise for this trade was that he was freeing up a logjam at guard and getting some power forward help with Emeka Okafor and Sean May both being injured and out of the lineup.
The problem with this is, that there is going to continue to be a logjam for minutes on the wing until Raymond Felton starts to get starters minutes at the point guard position, this isn’t going to happen for the rest of this season as long as Brevin Knight is on the team. As long as Knight starts at the point and Felton starts at shooting guard, then Matt Carroll, Alan Anderson, Kareem Rush, Bernard Robinson are going to get table scraps for minutes on the wing. These scraps will be reduced even more when Gerald Wallace returns to the lineup in the next couple of weeks and reclaims his minutes at small forward.
The second problem with this trade is that Lonnie Baxter just isn’t going to get that many minutes at the power forward spot, Melvin Ely is playing well and over the past few weeks Jumaine Jones ( although I would classify him as more of a small forward ) has stepped it up and played well at the power forward position. And next season theres no way that Baxter is going to sniff any minutes on the court playing behind Emeka Okafor, Sean May and Melvin Ely. The only way for this to make sense is for Ely to be moved before the trade deadline, otherwise this is just an extremely short term fix until the team gets healthy.
If Bickerstaff made this trade to set himself up for future trades before the deadline then I’m all for it, however if this is all that we see before February 23rd then only Bernie knows what hes doing.