Monday, December 17, 2007

Charlotte and Detroit Swap

Saturday night, the Detroit Pistons trade center Nazr Mohammed to the Charlotte Bobcats for forward Walter Hermann and center Primoz Brezec. My first reaction to this deal was: what is Charlotte thinking? Now that I have had two days to further consider the deal, my thought is: what is Charlotte thinking?

In this trade Detroit relieves themselves from Mohammed, who was a little used, overpaid big man that they clearly overpaid in July 2006 to replace Ben Wallace. Mohammed still has four years left on his deal with $5,632,200 in 2007-08, $6,049,400 in 2008-09, $6,466,600 in 2009-10, and $6,883,800 in 2010-11. Mohammed hasn't scored in double figures since the first half of 2004-05 when he played for the Knicks. Consistency has always been an issue with Mohammed who had a big 2000-01 with the Atlanta Hawks, but then never played at the same level for them again.

Bobcats coach Sam Vincent said, "We see this deal as a major improvement for the team. Not that we were down on Primoz and Walter, but we're trying to improve the Bobcats. We feel we've got a big guy that can come in and score in the post and help us with rebounding."

Unfortuantely, I doubt Mohammed will be the answer for Charlotte.

For Detroit, this trade was a no-brainer. Brezec will become the second big man off the bench for the Pistons playing behind Antonio McDyess, Rasheed Wallace, and Jason Maxiell. Brezec showed the ability to score nightly during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 season. Herrmann also has shown an ability to score from both the small forward and power forward positions. In 2006-07, Herrmann played in 48 games for Charlotte, averaging 19.5 minutes per game, and 9.2 points per game. He can shoot the ball well from the perimeter, and defend well enough to play power forward. Herrmann brings a veteran leadership to a young Piston bench which includes: Arron Afflalo, Rodney Stuckey, Jason Maxiell, Amir Johnson, and Cheick Samb.

Financially, this deal also made a great deal of sense for Detroit. Both Brezec and Hermann are in the final year of their contracts and become unrestricted free agents. Herrmann will make $1,944,000 this season and Brezec will earn $2,750,000. The Pistons will have the entire year to take a look at both players and see if they want to bring them back next season. In the meantime, they will bring further depth to a team who is looking to make a run in the playoffs.

In Mohammed, the Pistons will save more than $19,000,000 over the next three seasons. This factor is even bigger for Detroit than the talent upgrade they received in this trade. As key players like Rasheed Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Lindsey Hunter, and Antonio McDyess get older, this will provide flexibility for Detroit to add key players down the road.

For Charlotte, I simply cannot understand this trade. At the time of the trade, the Bobcasts were 8-13 and had lost 2 of their last 10 games. Although they have some nice players, they are clearly not ready to compete for a playoff position. Furthermore, adding Nazr Mohammed and losing two potential key players is not a move I would have made. If Sam Vincent was unhappy with Brezec and Herrmann, then the Bobcats should have rode it out the rest of the year and then let the players leave in free agency. They would have saved close to $6,000,000 and been in position to add a player such as Antawn Jamison, who could score effectively in the post.

In my eyes, this trade allowed the rich to get richer, while the poor got poorer.

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