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Basketball Prospectus: Short-Term Gain, Long-Term Pain For Bobcats

Basketball Prospectus’ Kevin Pelton comes through with a very detailed analysis of yesterday’s trade that sent Stephen Jackson to Charlotte. Pelton concludes that the trade will help the Bobcats in the short-term, particularly offensively. Though Jackson isn’t a particularly efficient scorer, Charlotte is currently the worst offensive team in the league, so Jackson will still help them there.

However, Pelton also underscores why the Bobcats might pay dearly for this trade down the road.

The most obvious aspect is the financial impact of taking on Jackson’s contract. The disastrous three-year extension the Warriors gave him a year ago will take effect next season, paying Jackson $28 million over that span. Charlotte added more than $1.5 million to its payroll next year, the last of [Vladimir] Radmanovic’s contract, and $9.3 million and $10.1 million the following two seasons. From a team that has been actively shedding future salary, most notably in the [Tyson] Chandler-Emeka Okafor trade, the sudden change of heart is stunning. Now, the Bobcats will have a tough time clearing cap space by the summer of 2011.

[…]

The long-term cost seems way too high for a Charlotte team that seems to be aspiring to lose in the first round of the playoffs with little hope of improving from there. I’m not convinced the Bobcats need to start from scratch and rebuild, but making a playoff run with youth leading the way is very different than doing it with players like Jackson.

[…]

If the Bobcats start planning a parade for next April, you’ll know something is very wrong.