Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Okafor dealt to Hornets

It became official around noon--the only starting center the Charlotte Bobcats have known has been traded to the New Orleans Hornets.

Emeka Okafor bids farewell to the city and franchise he helped build. In exchange, the Bobcats receive Tyson Chandler, a 7-1 center that brings a higher price tag for a shorter period of time.

On the surface, this looks like a good deal for Charlotte. Chandler is a little more athletic and fluid. Okafor was a solid contributor, but not the flashy kind of guy that puts fans in the seats.

Dig a little deeper, and the picture blurs. Okafor's contributions on both ends of the floor will be missed. A career double-double average, plus his ability to defend the basket made him an above average big man. Chandler was nearly dealt to Oklahoma City last year, before the deal was nixed due to concerns over a lingering toe injury.

To me, this deal is a basic wash to a loss for the Bobcats. Okafor is the more accomplished player, more polished, poised and complete. Chandler doesn't make you jump off the couch and say wow that often, but he can. The challenge for Chandler is defending guys like Dwight Howard--and he'll get plenty of chances to do that, considering Orlando's spot in the division with Charlotte.

Okafor is a classy player, and a classy person. I wish him the best in New Orleans, where he is already steps closer to the playoffs than the Bobcats are at the moment.

Mike Solarte

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