July 13, 2010
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Charlotte Bobcats General Manager Rod Higgins announced on July 13 that the team acquired center Erick Dampier, shooting guard Matt Carroll, forward Eduardo Najera and cash considerations from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinca. Higgins spoke to the media about the deal.
First of all, we were able to execute a trade that enables us to continue to explore and improve our ball club. If you look at the parameters of this field, we have an opportunity to see that financially, with the flexibility of the deal, we have continued to try to address some of our needs. The players that are going to come in are going to get an opportunity to play and compete for minutes Ė (Head) Coach (Larry) Brown has assured those guys of that.
On Dampierís contract
First things first, we are going to bring all three of the guys in for physicals and then at that point, we will continue to evaluate. The possibilities of Dampierís contract are evident to everybody Ė to (Bobcats Chairman) Michael (Jordan). He wants to make sure that we explore all of our options for our next move. We are going to consummate the trade, go through the physical aspects of it and make a decision accordingly.
On the Bobcats point guard situation
It needs to be addressed, and we are currently in conversations with guys that are free agents. As you know, in this business we are already in the temperatures of trades. We have guys that we like on other rosters that address the need in the point guard position. I think that with D.J. Augustin as our only point guard under contract, we know that we have to get more depth and we will try at the end of the day to improve that position. We addressed that need during the draft. I think that after we finished the season, that as a group, that was one of the things we were going to try to address and that is ongoing and part of our roster still has to take form.
On the possibility of Dampier being used in another trade
Thatís always a possibility. You have to consider that the contract is probably one of the most valuable contracts in the league. In having now attained that, we are going to, just to clarify, bring Erick in and heís going to take his physical as well as Eduardo and Matt, and then we are going to determine what the timeframe is for our next move. The flexibility is the beautiful part of having Erickís deal. Maybe not as much as much for Erick as a player, but for the franchise itself, it allows us possibilities to do some of the things you talked about. Do we have the opportunity to address some of the needs on our roster by moving that contract Ė those are the things that we are discussing every day internally.
On the potential Toronto deal that didnít happen
We had conversations with Toronto Ė no secret there. At the end of the day, we didnít come to a deal. Itís one of those things that happen in this business all the time. A lot of times you donít hear about it, but those things happen all the time.
On if he is concerned about the details that got out and that the players were informed
Iíve never talked to Boris (Diaw). No one from the Bobcats talked to Boris about him being in the trade. I canít speak for anyone else, I can only speak for our organization.
On where Matt Carroll and Eduardo Najera are at this point
InterestingÖ in particular with Matt, we have a history with him and know his game having allowed him an opportunity to be successful with our club. Matt just simply wants to compete and earn his minutes. Iíve expressed it to Larry about some of Mattís concerns about coming back and as well as Mattís agent about having the opportunity for Matt to compete for minutes. I think that any time a player is put in a position to compete for minutes, theyíre pretty content with the outcome. Itís when things are already set in stone prior to his arrival where heís not going to be given the opportunity, but thatís not the case. The same goes for Eduardo. We envisioned Eduardo being a piece that will help us win games. Our depth chart looks pretty good right now with Boris, Tyrus (Thomas) and Eduardo being able to play the four spot and we all like the depth, so we envision Eduardo coming in and competing as well as Matt and then weíll see how it goes. And itís up to Larry to determine the minutes.
On if he agrees with Michaelís statement about the roster taking form
Sometimes the blockbusters are so hard to come by and some of the conversations I have during the course of the year, maybe 5% of them come to fruition, and probably even less than a percentage of that (get finalized). But we are trying to shape this roster, and you addressed the need of obviously the point guard position and that is something that is on our radar. And speaking to Michael and to Larry today, between the three of us, we have probably had six separate conversations today, so that letís you know we are in tune to each other on our needs. Weíre going to address those needs and continue to try to improve our ball club.
On the significance of deal and what it does with cap space
You look at Dampierís number and it if the scenario comes where we decide to waive his contract, you are going to minus 13 million dollars and that looks pretty good on our books, but I donít want to say that that is going to be the deal because we havenít gotten that far. The first piece is getting the contract and getting the player, and then weíll determine whatís best at that point. It gives you a lot of good possibilities going forward. You read about Dampierís contract and a lot of circles and scenarios, and it is a valuable opportunity for a lot of teams. It just so happens that we have it, and we will look forward to using it in the proper way as we determine what is best to improve our team.
On Alexis Ajinca
The thing about Alexis is he is still a young player and history has it that big guys improve at a slower rate when they come to our league. It was probably culture shock for him coming to the NBA and being a finesse big man. The speed, quickness, power and the strength that the players have in our league Ė I think thatís going to take Alexis time but Iím going to give him credit because I told Alexis today that when he was down in Orlando he did things he hasnít done before, particularly on the right block where heís shooting his jump hook. But the thing he has got to do is stay confident within himself because he has a beautiful jump shot, and if thatís his strength heís got to find ways to do what he does and all of the other stuff will come into play. I think that defensively, he can have an effect on the game but that has to become a mindset for him. I hope he has a lot of success. I think for us, we brought the kid in and I donít think we expected him to play a lot. We expected him to come along slow. We took a chance and drafted him in the first round. Itís one of those things that in this league you just decide to move on, and we moved on, but we wish the kid well. Heís a fantastic young man.
On how Tyson Chandlerís injury affected the trade
Tyson played roughly played 51-some games last year. 51 games. I think he will be better this year. Heís going to compete this coming week for USA Basketball and try to get on the World Team, so I think his health has really improved. We did the deal because we felt that it was going to give us an opportunity to get better, and if not today, down the road. I think when Tyson came in, unfairly for him there were a lot of expectations. Maybe he didnít get a chance to show what he could do, but this year I think heís going to have an opportunity to be successful. We discussed that right now itís going to be a good move for us, and its probably going to be a good move for him at the end of the day going to a team thatís going to compete for a championship.
On how hard blockbuster trades are to come by
The talks that guys in this league like me have are ongoing. You envision these trades and you talk to other teams and then the reality of stuff to happen is such a small percentage, but itís kind of like those great jump shot players like a Reggie Miller or a Ray Allen Ė when those guys talk about shooting thousands and thousands of shots in practice and then all the sudden in the game you have the opportunity to make one or then shots that are important. Itís like the mindset just going through the repetition of conversation and brainstorming trying to come up with scenarios that you think will help your team and a small amount of that gets done Ė a real small amount.
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