Tuesday , Aug , 11 , 2009 Oly Sandor

The Great Summer Fall-off: Why Charlotte, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Phoenix will struggle in 2010

The NBA is a 24/7, 365 days a year business. Downtime is for the weak. Holidays are meaningless. After all, ten teams are scheduled to suit up on Jesus’ birthday, so why would summer provide rest and relaxation?
Club executives are always competing over players, picks, and cap space. Of course, in every competition winners and losers emerge. This summer, the line between teams that got better and worse widened …


The Great Summer Fall-off: Why Charlotte, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Phoenix will struggle in 2010At the beginning of every week, HoopsVibe the Blog drops a list for fans to weigh-in on. We call it Listed …

The NBA is a 24/7, 365 days a year business.

Downtime is for the weak. Holidays are meaningless. After all, ten teams are scheduled to suit up on Jesus’ birthday, so why would summer provide rest and relaxation?

Club executives are always competing over players, picks, and cap space. Of course, in every competition winners and losers emerge. This summer, the line between teams that got better and worse widened.

The great divide is money. Even with a soft salary cap, the NBA is becoming like European football or Major League Baseball. There are a few have clubs. And there are many have-not clubs.

In this edition of ‘Listed’, we’re exploring teams that fell off this summer due to a lack of finances.  As always, read the post and hit me with thoughts in the comment section.

Charlotte …

One step forward. Two steps back.

After barely missing their first-ever playoff spot, the Bobcats have stalled. Emeka Okafor was recently dealt to New Orleans for Tyson Chandler. These two have comparable talent, but Okafor has a multi-year contract, while Chandler can exercise his option next summer and walk as a free agent.

There is uncertainty at centre and point guard isn’t any clearer. Ray Felton’s future is murky; as a restricted free agent he’s currently locked in a contract dispute with the club.

Good teams have stability at the one and five-spots, so draw your own conclusions about the Bobcats. Clearly, owner Bob Johnson’s shaky finances influenced the Okafor-Chandler deal and are now impacting negotiations with Felton. Unfortunately, Charlotte, after dealing with George Shinn, won’t embrace a team that doesn’t invest in players or the community.

Milwaukee …

A small market saddled with bad contracts.

Unfortunately, this forced the Bucks to part with assets. Richard Jefferson, their best all around player, was dealt for expiring contracts. Ramon Sessions, a dynamic point guard, will sign elsewhere as a restricted free agent. And Charlie Villanueva will take his twittering to Detroit.

Well, Andrew Bogut and Michael Redd better produce in 2010.

Philadelphia …

The 76ers are a little gun shy after Elton Brand’s max contract. To be fair, reports indicate Brand will make a full recovery, yet when healthy he struggled to fit with his run-heavy teammates last year.

This brings us to the summer of 2009. Not keeping Andre Miller is understandable. Not getting anything for him in a sign-and-trade is entirely different, especially with no fall-back option (Sorry, Louis Williams is a scoring guard). 

Off-court, things are unsettled. Comcast, who own the club, have never clarified their long-term intentions, but can’t be happy with lagging attendance in basketball-mad Philadelphia.

Phoenix …

The Suns lack direction. On the one hand, they’ve publicly stated their goal is to win now, so Steve Nash and Grant Hill were re-signed. And that much-discussed Amare Stoudemire deal never materialized.

On the other hand, moves were made to create financial flexibility for the future. Shaquille O’Neal was dealt for Sasha Pavlovic and Ben Wallace (which became cap space), while Matt Barnes wasn’t re-signed.

This lack of focus stems from Robert Sarver’s shrinking fortune.  The ‘enthusiastic’ owner was heavily leveraged in banking and real estate before the economic downturn and must now find additional investors. Only then can the team move forward.

What team has fallen off the most in the summer of 2009? Charlotte? Phoenix? Philadelphia? Milwaukee? Or somebody else. Let us know in the comment box. Follow Oly Sandor’s work on HoopsVibe The Blog or Twitter. Photo courtesy of One/Million.