With a new financial reality, Bobcats turn to the future

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People were mystified when the Bobcats canceled their summer league team last year. That team, with nothing but big, bad contracts for middle-age (NBA-wise) players needed to develop their young guys more than anyone. But owner Bob Johnson was feeling the hammer of the economy and the Cats just couldn’t justify the expense. There were some that even contended it was a logical move, given that Larry Brown isn’t exactly the most pro-rook guy out there.

But the Bobcats have announced that they’ll be back for Summer League, and Rick Bonnell notes that it was a move Larry Brown asked them to reconsider.

Summer League is becoming more important every year, as the league becomes smarter about player development. Players are making teams off their summer-league performance more than ever, and often teams will ask players to join their D-League affiliates to keep them in their systems throughout the season. Curtis Jerrells was signed by D-League and assigned to the Toros after a considerable bonus for his Summer League work, then called-up last week, given a big league contract, and assigned back to Austin again, effectively rewarding him for his investment in the system.

The Bobcats’ core is built to win now, in order to establish something resembling a winning culture. Eventually, though, they’ll have to invest in the future. Starting work with their summer league team is a good place to start.

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five

VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.