Schedulegate resolves itself by the NBA firing all their scheduling people and announcing that from here on out, all teams will play the exact same schedule every year to "help save on administrative costs." Disappointing to hear, but that's how the cookie crumbles.
I call George Karl into my office and give him the terms of getting a contract extension. Make the Western Conference finals or do better and he'll get an extension. Lose in the first round and he'll be coaching somewhere else next year. Anything in-between will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
He communicates his understanding, but reminds me that our Finals run two years ago came about because we had a superstar in Allen Iverson and we have no superstar players on this team.
He's right and it's something to think about as the season goes.
No trades last month, which is a little surprising.
Just for the heck of it, I start making some calls to see what it'd take to bring in a superstar. Believe it or not, there's a few teams that are very interested in talking, especially with what I put up to offer.
There's one team in particular that I'd be very pleased to make the deal with, but it would involve trading one of my boys, the one I'm most reluctant to part with. It would also mean a major hit to my big-man corps.
You know, I just can't do it. I thought I could trade away Ben Gordon, but I'm absolutely loathe to do it.
We beat the Heat 96-77 as Mehmet Okur, the other key part who would've been traded, puts up 16 points and 10 rebounds, Dan Jacobson nice as well with 15 points and 14 boards. Duez Walker scored 10 as the bench highlight.
A balanced offense led by 20 points a piece from Ben Gordon and Paulinho Buboltz, along with 13 and 10 points off the bench from Al Thornton and Leroy Wright takes out the Magic 115-83.
Mehmet Okur has 14 points and 12 rebounds, Ben Gordon 30 points and Paulinho Buboltz 18 points and 12 assists, but the Wizards still beat us 107-98.
To trade or not to trade? That's the big question hanging over all our heads.
Denver Nuggets receive
PF Emeka Okafor
Charlotte Bobcats receive
SF Caron Butler
2013 Washington Wizards 2nd round pick
2014 Washington Wizards 2nd round pick
What this means for the Nuggets
Okafor has been on GM Jestor's radar for quite some time and was almost traded to the Nuggets last year when they landed Mehmet Okur instead. Emeka is a huge defensive and rebounding presence that will probably start at PF and see Okur shift to SF. He'll be a critical piece as Denver tries to counter the frontcourt strength of teams like the Lakers and Rockets.
What this means for the Bobcats
Charlotte really needs more scoring offense if they're going to have a hope of winning the East conference crown again any time soon and Butler can give them that. After a game or two as the 6th man to adjust to the new team, much like Okafor in Denver, Caron likely slots in as the starting SG, where he'd be a signicant upgrade over Josh Smith. They also get likely high 2nd round picks for the next two drafts which gives them more tickets to try and find a gem.
Both teams got something they needed out of this one, while giving something in return. It's a little surprising to see GM Jestor trade Butler, his fellow Racinian, but reports out of Denver suggest the Nuggets front office was frustrated with Butler's inconsistency.
They're right, I was. I also, for some reason, didn't feel quite the bond with Caron that I do Ben, who was the other major piece we had to dangle in front of teams and who I almost traded to the Wizards for Gilbert Arenas before deciding I didn't have the heart for it. And at least I traded Caron to a winning team, so he'll be able to experience the playoffs again, only over in the East.
We lose 125-115 to the Raptors in the next game, even though Ben Gordon scores 29, Paulinho Buboltz is electrifying with 23 points and 10 assists before fouling out and Dan Jacobson is absolutely amazing with 20 points and 23 rebounds. Al Thornton added in an impressive 24 points in his starting debut. Honestly, I'm pretty excited about this loss, weird as it sounds. This was a competitive game in Toronto and Jacobson hassled Greg Oden all game. Once we get the better defense Emeka Okafor in the starting lineup, I think we'll be able to be a real threat against teams like the Raptors.
The Knicks go down 120-109, Ben Gordon the lead Knick-crusher with 33 points, Paulinho Buboltz the #2 man with 24 points and 11 assists and some nice bench play from Duez Walker (12 points) and Emeka Okafor (13 rebounds).
Emeka Okafor gets his first start at PF against the 76ers, but the resulting game is a disaster. Mehmet Okur had 0 points, bringing back memories of Joakim Noah and not a single Nugget had double-digit points except for Ben Gordon, who tried his damndest with 49 points in the 101-86 loss.
We rally to just barely beat Boston 104-100 in the next game of the doubleheader, Dan Jacobson with 15 points and 18 rebounds, Ben Gordon with 36 points and Tiago Splitter a surprise bench scorer with 10 points.
The second doubleheader of this East Coast road-trip is a split, too. Miami falls 108-90 as Emeka Okafor is magnificient with 18 points and 12 rebounds and Leroy Wright has 10 bench points as the 6th man. Interesting Heat team, with Dwayne Wade, Allen Iverson and the stunning Nigel Abel (by the way, another 2010 class guy), but have a horrendous frontcourt in T.J. Roberts, a 4th year 22 year old who isn't as good as he could be and Ryan Sweetwyne, who frankly isn't ready to be an NBA starter. Really nice guy, though. Against Orlando, Dan Jacobson is awe-inspiring with 32 points and 15 rebounds and Paulinho Buboltz gets 13 points and 11 assists, but Mehmet Okur is really struggling to adapt to SF and 6 Magic score 12 points or more as we go down 110-99.
Back home against Phoenix, we win 106-91, Ben Gordon the top scorer with 30 points a game, Mehmet Okur finally snapping out of the SF slump with 15 points and 14 rebounds and Leroy Wright with 11 bench points. Dan Jacobson, as a fascinating side note, scored 0 points and didn't take a single shot all game long, as he was limited to 26 minutes due to foul trouble. It's a mark of how good this team is becoming that we were able to overcome that and still win against a faded, but still respectable Suns squad.
We welcome back Joakim Noah against the Supersonics and he promptly goes out and scores 10 points as a reserve. Dan Jacobson bounced back with 19 points and 13 rebounds, Mehmet Okur continuing to look much more comfortable with 20 points and 11 boards. Brooks Smith was held to 19 points, a far cry from the 43 he had last time.
A tough 96-88 loss to Dallas on the first half of the now-annual Christmas doubleheader follows, in which no one shot well with the exception of Joakim Noah, who had 11 points in reserve duty. Dirk Nowtizki thrashed us for 39 points and, yeah, just ugly all around. Ben Gordon rescues us against Golden State with 46 points, as we have to start Joakim Noah at C because Dan Jacobson has a nagging finger injury. Jacobson scores 10 points off the bench though, as does Sebastian Telfair in the 109-86 victory to salvage a split.
Another game, another frustrating loss to the 76ers, this time 105-100. Emeka Okafor has 17 points and 11 rebounds, Joakim Noah 12 points, 11 boards, but it's amazing to see just how weaker a team we are without Dan Jacobson starting.
We close out the calendar year with a doubleheader against the Los Angeles teams. Well, okay, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, but still. The Lakers beat us 112-106 on the road. Ben Gordon leads us with 31 points and Duez Walker and Al Thornton have 10 bench points, but Andrew Bynum just tears Joakim Noah apart for 34 points and 13 rebounds. The encouraging thing is, we played them close on the road even without Jacobson starting. We crush the Clippers 117-99 at home as Ben Gordon scores 35 and Al Thornton and Duez Walker add 16 and 10 points with the second team respectively.
So we're 19-12 right now, a half-game BEHIND the Timberwolves (18-10). That's not cool. Dallas is just on fire lately, heading the West with a 25-5 record, followed by Houston at 22-9 and the Lakers, who are 20-8. There's a lot of really good teams in the conference this year, which is worrying.
Over in the East, it's still Toronto at 25-7. The Bobcats haven't missed a beat either, though, and are 2nd at 21-7. They've got Caron Butler starting at PF and while he's been inconsistent, he's given them precisely the scoring boost they were looking for.
Charlotte's got an interesting starting five right now.
PG Adam Morrison
SG Josh Smith
SF Gerald Wallace
PF Caron Butler
C Channing Frye
I'd like to point out that I'm the one responsible for their having Butler and Frye. Frye's been the starting C for most of his career with the Bobcats and the model of obscene consistency: 11.6, 11.6, 11.2, 12.8, 11.2, 11.5 (to date) points averaged and 1.8, 2.0, 1.6, 1.9, 1.7 and 1.5 (to date) assists. While less consistent in rebounds, he's ranged from 7.4-8.5 rebounds a season each year as well.
Charlotte fans can't say they don't know what they're getting out of Frye every year that's for sure.
2006 Golden Scribe Nominee
2006 Golden Scribe Winner
Best Non-Sport Dynasty: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)
Rookie Writer of the Year
Dynasty of the Year: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)