During last season, Al Jefferson was mentioned quite often in possible trade scenarios, but he remained with the Utah Jazz. Now, a free agent, it seems the slow interest in him is starting to speed up, with the Charlotte Bobcats hoping to land the big man.
Jefferson is a quite clear case of a fantastic offensive big man with plenty of defensive flaws. While it might not work for most teams, especially with Jefferson probably looking for the $15 million he made last season with the Jazz, the Bobcats have plenty of cap space and the minimal amount of talent possible, making them a perfect destination.
The Bobcats were 28th in the NBA last season when it came to offensive efficiency, and Jefferson, who has averaged 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds last season, will immediately become their best player and go-to-guy on offense. He usually does get overlooked, but for the last few years has been one of the best big men in the NBA when it comes to working in the post, shooting at a very consistent 50% from the field.
Playing for small-market teams does that to your reputation, but the Bobcats are a small-market team themselves, hoping that isn’t something that bothers Jefferson, whose price range should keep him out of the shortlist of “bigger” teams.
As for the Jazz, it seems they prefer not re-signing Jefferson after three years with the team, hoping to get a lot more out of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, who’ll get a lot more minutes and touches with both the expensive Jefferson and Millsap out of the way. The Jazz didn’t make that tandem work well enough to turn them into a perennial playoff team, so they prefer not spending more money on something that clogs their cap space and keeps them at the same mediocre level.
The Bobcats had Bismack Biymobo to pair up with Jefferson in the frontcourt, hoping that along with the Congolese big man, who’ll shift to power forward after playing at center for much of last season, they’ll have a much more formidable duo in the paint, with Biymobo making up for Jefferson’s defensive deficiencies.