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Posted: Saturday, Jun. 16, 2012

Four former Bobcats on the top 100 list

By Rick Bonnell
Published in: Building the Bobcats

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Four former Charlotte Bobcats made the Observer’s NBA top-100 – Tyson Chandler at No. 26, Gerald Wallace at 63, Jared Dudley at 73 and Emeka Okafor at 78.

The head-scratcher of that bunch is Chandler, who was traded primarily for payroll relief (Erick Dampier’s unguaranteed contract). Since leaving the Bobcats in July of 2010, Chandler won an NBA championship as a Dallas Maverick in 2011 and Defensive Player of the Year as a New York Knick in 2012.

What happened? Chandler and then-coach Larry Brown didn’t co-exist well. Chandler let Bobcats management know he didn’t want to play for Brown, after coming off the bench most of his first season in Charlotte. Also, the Bobcats were looking for a way to avoid paying luxury tax for the first time in franchise history. Acquiring and then waiving Dampier shaved $13 million off the Bobcats’ payroll (although they had to accept the multi-year contracts of Matt Carroll and Eduardo Najera from Dallas).

Five months after Chandler was traded, the Bobcats fired Brown.

Redrafting the NBA 1-20

Who would you build a franchise around? If every NBA player was thrown back into one master draft, who would be the top 20 picks? Observer NBA writer Rick Bonnell’s take, with consideration for ability, age, position and injuries. (And yes, this draft includes one special rookie):

Draft Order Player Team / position Seasons
1. Kevin Durant Thunder small forward five
2. LeBron James Heat small forward nine
3. Dwight Howard Magic center eight
4. Rajon Rondo Celtics point guard six
5. Derrick Rose Bulls point guard (could miss next season with ACL tear) four
6. Chris Paul Clippers point guard seven
7. Kevin Love Timberwolves power forward four
8. Russell Westbrook Thunder point guard four
9. Dwyane Wade Heat shooting guard nine
10. Kobe Bryant Lakers shooting guard 16
11. Tony Parker Spurs point guard 11
12. Carmelo Anthony Knicks small forward nine
13. Deron Williams Nets point guard seven
14. LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers power forward six
15. Andrew Bynum Lakers center seven
16. Blake Griffin Clippers forward two
17. Kyrie Irving Cavaliers point guard one
18. Dirk Nowitzki Mavericks power forward 14
19. Anthony Davis Soon-to-be Hornets power forward no
20. Roy Hibbert Pacers center four

Could any of these players end up a Bobcat through trades or free agency? Probably not, for a variety of reasons. Some (Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki) are too old for rebuilding projects. Others (Kevin Durant, LeBron James, etc.) are already in the best position to win titles. And the way the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement works, these players’ current teams have advantages in retaining them. The CBA allows the retaining team to give larger year-to-year raises and slightly longer contracts.

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