The Charlotte Bobcats name has been synonymous with failure the past two years. They had the worst win percentage in league history during the lockout-shortened 66-game season in 2012 and were just a game better than the Magic for the worst record in the league in 2013.
The cruel gods of the Lottery cursed them then by leaving them outside the top pick in 2012 (they took Michael Kidd-Gilchrist second) and outside the top three in 2013 (they took Cody Zeller fourth).
Eventually Charlotte had to do something to make its team better or at least respectable.
The Bobcats may have done that in signing Al Jefferson to a three-year deal worth about $40 million. Jefferson will have a player option for that third and final year. Charlotte will use its amnesty waiver on Tyrus Thomas to make room for Jefferson's proposed $13 million salary.
Acquiring Jefferson though shows the Bobcats are serious about getting out of the basement. Jefferson is one of the premier offensive post players in the league, averaging 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season with the Jazz. Jefferson gives the Bobcats offense an immediate rock to play around and rely on in games.
No more relying on the sometimes volatile Kemba Walker (17.7 PPG, 42.3% FG%) or restricted free agent Gerald Henderson (15.5 PPG, 44.7% FG%) for the bulk of the scoring. If they can keep those numbers up, Jefferson should give Charlotte a nice balanced scoring attack.
Is it Playoff good?
That depends on the defense, even in the depleted Eastern Conference. Jefferson is not known as a good defender and the Bobcats are still a young team. There will be a lot of growth left to do. And the length of Jefferson's contract may mean he is a stop-gap of sorts as Charlotte plans its next move.
One thing was sure though, Charlotte could not spend another year in the tank. Not as embarrassingly as the team was at least. Signing Jefferson at least brings the organization up to mediocrity, or maybe just the chance of that. Not a lofty goal, for sure, but it is a step.
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