Raymond Felton’s departure from Charlotte has been in the works for some time. Felton and the team could never agree on terms for an extension that would have made Raymond the Bobcats’ long-term point guard. Then Michael Jordan tore down his Raymond Felton poster to put up a D.J. Augustin one, exposing the writing on the wall in the process. Felton played out his contract (including last year for the qualifying offer), and is now the top free agent point guard in the holy 2010 FA class.
Not that he’s all that great. Felton’s a good player and a strong defender, but he’s not exactly a top-tier point guard. Yet with so many teams looking to the sky with money in their pockets, Felton seems destined to get his due (and perhaps more) on a PG-deprived roster. One that isn’t the Bobcats.
From the Associated Press:
Unrestricted free agent point guard Raymond Felton has been contacted by seven teams as all signs point to him leaving the Charlotte Bobcats. Agent Tony Dutt wouldn’t name the teams, but said Thursday Felton would consider a sign-and-trade deal with the Bobcats that would allow Charlotte to get some compensation for the starting point guard “if it would help them and Raymond as well.” The Bobcats have made no push to re-sign Felton in part because of salary-cap issues. The team’s payroll close to the luxury tax, a figure owner Michael Jordan says the team won’t exceed.
All of those trades that seemed to turn out well for the Bobcats in the short-term? This is where they hit hard. If the Bobcats aren’t willing to go over the tax, not only is Felton the first to go, but Tyrus Thomas (a restricted free agent) could soon follow. Those following the Bobcats knew that the team’s course meant that certain long-term sacrifices would have to be made, but this appears to be a collision of that “distant” future and a particularly problematic present.