In a wide-ranging interview with Charlotte Observer beat writer Rick Bonnell, Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins said he won't make any deal that would improve the woeful team for this season but sacrifice its chances for success long-term. (The full transcript of the interview is available here.)
"Panic doesn't exist for us," he said. "Once we made those trades [exchanging veterans Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson for packages that included draft picks], we have to see it through, the path we've taken: Get assets, create [cap] flexibility.
Some of the flexibility with the cap depends on the offers that restricted free agents D.J. Augustin and D.J. White receive from other teams this summer. Higgins said the team could be anywhere from $5MM to $21MM under the cap during the offseason, and told Bonnell the team would pursue a marquee free agent if any of them have mutual interest.
Higgins and GM Rich Cho said they're also listening to offers for what figures to be a high pick in the 2012 draft. If they keep the pick, they're looking for someone who "can help a team right away," Higgins said.
Though Higgins and Cho wouldn't discuss amnesty candidates, Bonnell figures Matt Carroll, DeSagana Diop and Tyrus Thomas might be considered. Thomas, the fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft, would raise the most eyebrows. He has about $26MM guaranteed on his contract the next three years. Higgins seems on the fence about whether the team regrets signing Thomas to a five-year, $40MM deal in 2010.