UNDER CONTRACT: G Ben Gordon, F Tyrus Thomas, C DeSagana Diop, F Matt Carroll, G Gerald Henderson, G Ramon Sessions, F-C Bismack Biyombo, F Reggie Williams, G Kemba Walker, C Brendan Haywood, C B.J. Mullens, F Jeff Adrien, F DaJuan Summers
DRAFT PICKS: F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F Jeff Taylor
FREE AGENTS: G Cory Higgins
MOVES: The new coach is Mike Dunlap, whose only previous head coaching experience was filling in for cancer-stricken Steve Lavin at St. John’s last season. The Bobcats made a move before the draft, dealing Corey Maggette to Detroit for Ben Gordon, who will add needed shooting and scoring off the bench. Charlotte was last in the NBA in offense and 3-point shooting last season. The deal also landed a first-round pick, and moving Maggette also clears minutes for rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. In another effort to add offense, the Bobcats had discussions with free agent forward Antawn Jamison, a North Carolina native who was considering coming home and serving as a mentor for Charlotte’s young roster before opting to sign with the Lakers instead (good move, AJ). The Bobcats also made qualifying offers to RFAs D.J. Augustin and Derrick Brown, both of whom were rotation players last season, but later rescinded both. Augustin signed with Indiana and Brown is still on the market. In Augustin’s place, Charlotte signed point guard Ramon Sessions to a two-year, $10 million deal. The Bobcats also made the cost-effective move of claiming Brendan Haywood on waivers after he was an amnesty casualty of Dallas. Haywood will cost Charlotte just $6 million over the next three years, a great price for a backup center. Before training camp began, the Bobcats signed roster fillers Jeff Adrien and DaJuan Summers, who may have a chance to stick. On Dunlap’s staff, former Grizzlies coach Brian Winters, former Bulls assistant Rick Brunson and Dan Leibovitz join holdover Stephen Silas as assistants.
TO-DO LIST: The Bobcats have the cap room to make considerable changes to their roster. But when you win seven games, you are not an ideal destination. In addition to its strong pitch to Jamison, Charlotte made a serious run at Goran Dragic, who took less money to play in Phoenix. All that room under the cap remains, and GM Rich Cho could use it to facilitate trades as a third team, taking on short salary dumps and draft picks for trade exceptions. By allowing Augustin to leave, Cho cleared the position for Kemba Walker – then cluttered it again with Sessions. This may tell you how management feels about Walker’s readiness.
PROJECTION: With at least seven players 25 or younger and a new coach with virtually no experience as the guy in charge, this is a massive rebuilding project requiring plenty of patience. It will never get off the ground if the Bobcats do not allow players such as Kidd-Gilchrist, Walker, Gerald Henderson and Bismack Biyombo to learn on the job and play through their mistakes. Unless there is a dramatic move later this summer, it is inconceivable for Charlotte to win 20 games.
(RELATED: WHAT GRADE DID THE BOBCATS GET?)
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