- Corey Maggette ($10,924,138)
- Tyrus Thomas ($8,000,000)
- Gerald Henderson ($3,101,327)
- Bismack Biyombo ($2,923,920)
- Reggie Williams ($2,612,500)
- Kemba Walker ($2,462,400)
- B.J. Mullens ($2,253,062)
Free Agents (Cap Holds)
- D.J. Augustin ($8,091,175)
- Eduardo Najera ($5,225,000)
- D.J. White ($5,002,918)
- Derrick Brown ($1,060,120 – QO)
- (Othella Harrington – $3,088,800)
- (Derek Anderson – $854,389)
- (Garrett Temple – $854,389)
- (Lonny Baxter – $854,389)
- 1st Round (Pending lottery; 25% chance at first overall pick)
- 2nd Round (31st overall)
- Guaranteed Salary (including likely options): $43,149,547
- Non-Guaranteed Salary, Cap Holds: $26,786,055
- Total (not including draft picks): $69,935,602
To say that the 2011/12 season was a horror show for the Charlotte Bobcats would be putting it lightly. Needing only one win in its final 23 games to avoid setting an NBA record for futility, the team lost 23 straight to finish the season with the league's worst-ever winning percentage (.106, 7-59).
While the Bobcats may have been better off had the lockout simply wiped out the season, you have to think the worst is behind them. Things can only get better from here. Right?
Heading into 2012/13, the Bobcats still have a number of undesirable contracts on their books, but many of them will expire at the end of next season. Assuming DeSagana Diop and Matt Carroll opt in for 2012/13, their contracts, along with Corey Maggette's and a few others, will be in their final year. The team's remaining bad contract, Tyrus Thomas', runs through 2014/15, but Charlotte will have the option of using its amnesty clause to wipe out the remaining three years and $26MM+ owed to the underachieving big man.
With some room to work with next season and increasing cap flexibility in the long-term, the Bobcats will have the means to match any offers for restricted free agent D.J. Augustin. However, considering the promising rookie season from Kemba Walker, who posted a 14.9 PER compared to Augustin's 14.1 mark, Charlotte shouldn't feel obligated to overpay for Augustin if a team signs him to a huge offer sheet.
The Bobcats will also have a top-four pick to add to its core of Walker and Bismack Biyombo, and while Anthony Davis is far and away their prospect of choice, losing the lottery and ending up with a consolation prize like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Thomas Robinson wouldn't be the end of the world. Still, a frontcourt of Davis and Biyombo is one worth salivating over, and would give Charlotte the young potential star it badly needs.
While the Bobcats will head into 2012/13 wanting to put the embarrassment of this season behind them, it's hard to imagine a huge roster overhaul happening quite yet. Charlotte won't exactly be a top destination for free agents, so even though the Bobcats could use help at a number of positions, including on the wing, it's hard to imagine them luring free agent help.
Based on their current salaries and cap holds, the Bobcats figure to be an over-the-cap team for one more season, meaning their only hope of attracting a major free agent is the mid-level exception. Amnestying Thomas and renouncing some cap holds could create a little room to spend, but I don't think that would necessarily help the team in the long-term.
Making a splash in free agency this summer probably isn't the best plan of action for the Bobcats anyway. While no one in Charlotte wants a repeat of the historically bad 2011/12, attempting to move forward by making drastic changes is more likely to set back the rebuilding effort than to advance it. With a handful of bad contracts entering their final year, Charlotte simply needs to stay the course, adding another young player to its core and preparing for the summer of 2013, when the team figures to have another lottery pick and a ton of cap space.