The Charlotte Bobcats will sign free agent Al Jefferson to a three-year $41 million dollar deal with a player option for the final year. Jefferson was the face of the Jazz franchise and is now going to be the face of the lowly Bobcats, owned by Michael Jordan. Jefferson was widely considered the second best center behind Dwight Howard in this year’s free agency. So what does this mean for the Bobcats and the Jazz?
What is means for the Bobcats: The Bobcats now have an extremely proficient low-post scorer with averages of 17.8 ppg and 9.2 rpg over the course of last season. Although Jefferson has great post moves, he is a horrific defender who gets beat easily and is slow on help defense. Another negative is that Jefferson barely goes to the free-throw line with an average of 2.8 fta per game. With the Bobcats, these averages will be elevated considering the dearth of dependable scorers on the roster. The Bobcats are still headed for the lottery and a high position in the draft, making the Jefferson deal somewhat confusing. Another somewhat suspicious part of the deal is its length. A two-year deal with a player option for the third will not be enough time for the Bobcats to rebuild around Jefferson, potentially leaving the Bobcats in an awkward position come 2015. But all in all the Bobcats now have a reliable scorer and a big man to compliment Kemba Walker.
What it means for the Jazz: Jefferson leaving the Jazz is an addition by subtraction sort of move. The Jazz have two very talented and young big men in Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors who were receiving minimal playing time. The Jazz are starting a youth movement, letting go of some good but older veteran players in order to develop younger and higher ceiling players such as Kanter and Favors. With rookie point guard Trey Burke, and the developing Gordon Heyward, the Jazz are moving in the right direction towards rebuilding. While Jefferson was a good player for the Jazz, it is time to move on and start anew with fresh and exciting talent.
Picture and Stats from ESPN