After another grueling NBA season, the offseason is among us with the Rookie draft coming up in a few months. Many fans are clamoring for the Bobcats to use salary cap space (we will have a lot) to land a big name free agent to pair with our soon to be top-3 draft pick and cross our fingers that we have then created a "core group" of players that we will lead us to multiple playoff berths for years to come...
Although I would be excited to see a much improved team next year, I am conflicted in believing that one more miserable year would help us more for the future than trying to compete immediately next year. For instance, if we improve too much (tough to fathom), we will lose our 1st round draft pick in 2014.
The Bobcats traded a conditional pick to the Bulls as part of the Tyrus Thomas deal. If we finish next year's record better than the bottom 10 in the league, we lose a draft pick in the 10-20 range to the Bulls. Assuming we will finally gain the Blazers conditional pick in 2014 from the Gerald Wallace trade and can potentially get the Pistons conditional pick from the same trade, I think it would greatly bolster our rebuiliding effort to have three 1st round picks next year.
If we played next season out similar to this last (painful) season and only signed veteran free agents to one-year deals and chug along with our current roster... After next season we could potentially own:
- The Bobcats 1st round draft pick (top-10 protected)
- The Blazers 1st round draft pick (top-12 protected)
- The Pistons 1st round draft pick (top-8 protected)
- The most salary cap in the NBA to lure one max-level player, and a second mid-level complimentary player. (assuming we amnesty Tyrus Thomas)
I know the idea of tanking the 2014 season is not appealing to anyone, but with the status of our rebuilding project, I think it allows us to create a deeper, longer sustaining, core group of players with championship goals in their sights, than it would to try to improve right now and be a team fighting for the 8th seed for the next 6-8 years.
... For the record, I am not discounting the possibility that we can put together a good, competitive team by adding some free agents and drafting well this off season, I am only making the point that another bad year for the Bobcats may finally give us the number of assets we need to finish rebuilding and become a contender.