Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

November 16, 2009

Jackson to Charlotte

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 4:14 pm

The NBA’s first in-season trade is done, and it’s one that has been in the works for a long time. The Golden State Warriors at last shipped out disgruntled swingman Stephen Jackson, sending him and Acie Law to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for Raja Bell and Vladimir Radmanovic.

As usual, there’s two key aspects to this trade: the basketball and the financial. While the latter is an apparent win for the Bobcats, the Warriors have made out well on the latter aspect. Next season, Jackson begins a three-year contract extension that will pay him $28 million over that span. Meanwhile, Golden State takes on just $7 million past this season (Bell’s contract, like Law’s, expires at season’s end; Radmanovic has one year left on his deal).

So, is the upgrade from Bell to Jackson worth it? Unlikely. Certainly, Jackson will provide much-needed offense for a Charlotte team that has been starved for points in the early going. The Bobcats rank last in the league in Offensive Rating, in large part because of a distinct shortage of players capable of creating offense for themselves or others. Count Bell among the offenders; a shooting guard who uses just 18.2 percent of his team’s possessions needs to do better than a .533 True Shooting Percentage. Jackson has never been especially efficient, but if motivated he should score about his efficiently while taking on a larger load.

Charlotte has been one of the league’s better defensive teams, so there’s the chance to improve if the offense becomes even remotely competent. Still, the Bobcats have started 3-6 and have been outscored by more than six points a night. What’s the upside here? .500? Lower? That doesn’t appear to be worth taking the ugly back end of Jackson’s contract, which takes him through age 35.

This is all about the money for the Warriors, who now have the chance to get under the cap in 2011, when they only have significant money invested in three players–Andris Biedrins, Monta Ellis and Corey Maggette. In the meantime, the biggest downside to this trade is that adding two rotation-caliber players further muddles Don Nelson‘s inconsistent distribution of playing time. Bell could move on again to a contender for whom a defensive specialist makes more sense.

(John Hollinger, by contrast, argues the issue for Golden State is not taking a deal with Cleveland that could have yielded cap space and/or the chance to make unbalanced trades using nonguaranteed contracts this year. That’s all true, but I think the argument is the Warriors are such a mess right now that it’s too early to figure out their direction or what they need. Is Anthony Randolph a core piece? Can Ellis and Stephen Curry coexist in the backcourt? How long will Nelson’s reign of madness last? All of those questions are far more likely to be answered by 2011 than 2010.)

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress