When you talk about the Charlotte Bobcats “to do list” this offseason one of the main topics that comes up is the free agent status of point guard Raymond Felton. A Tarheel that was selected fifth overall by the Bobcats and has played his entire career in Charlotte, is an unrestricted free agent and the front office is still trying to decide if they want Felton on that “to do list” of things to get done.
Felton’s career as a Bobcat has been up and down but over the past couple of seasons his numbers were getting better. A career 13.3 points per game scorer to go along with 6.4 assists, the team co-captain has provided leadership and toughness for the Bobcats but over time his shot selection and running of the offense has been questioned. He turned down a contract offer last offseason that would have been worth around six million dollars per season because he believed he deserved to be paid like a top point guard in the league. And throughout the regular season he was starting to prove that. The Bobcats were winning games and pushing for the playoffs and Felton’s play was solid and then that’s when it all changed in the playoffs.
Charlotte was swept by the Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs and a big part of that had to do with the play of the fifth year point guard. Magic point guard Jameer Nelson exploded against Felton averaging 23.8 points and shooting 48 percent from the field. Felton’s defense was awful and at the same time his shooting percentage dropped to 40 percent, five percent below his average in the regular season. The series really opened the eyes of the front office for the Bobcats to start questioning if Felton should be the point guard to lead this team in the future.
Now this is a tough and crucial decision to make for this team on whether Felton should be re-signed. If they let him walk then they are left with only one point guard on the roster in D.J. Augustin and no draft picks in this upcoming NBA Draft. Augustin has shown flashes of playmaking in his first two seasons but I don’t believe he is ready to take over the starting job. His confidence and play is still inconsistent and for right now I think he is better used coming off the bench. So if Augustin is not the guy where do the Bobcats turn now?
Well the next option would be to look at either a trade or bringing in a free agent. And since the team has hardly any money to spend then a trade is probably the best place to look. They could go out and look for a veteran like T.J. Ford, who they were close to acquiring last season or they could try to make a trade to bring a young guy in like Darren Collison who played great last season but will now play behind Chris Paul this upcoming year. Those are just a couple of options that present themselves and of course salaries and players would all have to match up for a deal to go through to keep the team from hitting the luxury tax.
All in all, this is going to be one of the biggest decisions the Bobcats have made. Do you re-sign a player in Felton where you know what you are getting with some inconsistency but overall decent numbers? Or do you look elsewhere and let Augustin and whoever else you bring in take over the reins? What do you think Bobcats fans? Should they re-sign Felton or look for other options at point guard?
More Raymond Felton free agency discussion around the web