Posted July 04, 2013

Reports: Bobcats agree to sign Al Jefferson to three-year deal

Al Jefferson, Ben Golliver, Charlotte Bobcats
Al Jefferson (right) is reportedly headed to the Bobcats.

Al Jefferson (right) is reportedly headed to the Bobcats. (D. Clarke Evans/Getty Images)

The Bobcats have agreed to sign unrestricted free agent center Al Jefferson to a multi-year contract, according to multiple reports.

ESPN.com reports that Jefferson’s deal is worth $41 million over three years and includes a player option on the final season. NBA.com confirmed the agreement, pegging the total value at $40.5 million and further reporting that Charlotte will use its amnesty clause on Tyrus Thomas to facilitate Jefferson’s addition.

The free-agent negotiating period opened on Monday. Contracts can’t officially be signed until July 10.

A big-bodied, hulking center, Jefferson, who averaged averaged 17.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 blocks last season, departs Utah after three seasons; he led the Jazz in both scoring and rebounding in each of the last two campaigns. The 2004 first-round pick has done well to erase the memory of a season-ending knee injury suffered in 2009; he missed just nine games combined during his three seasons with the Jazz.

His dependability on offense is matched only by his struggles on defense. Jefferson’s net rating of -3.5 and his plus/minus of -2.9 were both team-worst marks among Jazz players who logged at least 1,000 minutes, and the Jazz’s defensive efficiency plummeted from 98.4 points per 100 possessions when he was off the court to a whopping 107.6 points per 100 possessions when he was on the court.

Now, this one-way player heads to a zero-way team. The Bobcats ranked No. 28 in offensive efficiency and No. 30 in defensive efficiency in scratching out 21 wins last season and there’s no reason to believe that this year, the first under new coach Steve Clifford, will be meaningfully better. The highlights of Charlotte’s 2013-14 campaign will be the lottery drawing and the draft, and while Jefferson’s addition will add a reliable offensive punch, he’s not likely to drastically change their outlook.

The plan, it seems, is to pair Jefferson on the low block with Cody Zeller, the No. 4 pick in the 2013 draft, operating as a more perimeter-oriented power forward. Even cloning Michael Kidd-Gilchrist three times wouldn’t provide sufficient defensive tenacity to make up for that duo.

Grade: C. Not to be rude, but this deal barely registers on the relevance scale. It amounts to a pure cash-out for Jefferson, who probably has one more meaningful contract coming to him after this one. You can’t blame him for taking the money and running and you can’t really blame the Bobcats for deciding to pony up, given that they’re overpaying for a known quantity in the middle of his prime. It’s hard to convince anyone worthwhile to sign as a free agent in Charlotte, given the recent history, and here they bent over backward to get a useful, professional big man to hang around for a little while.

The whole thing just seems rather meaninless: Jefferson will score a lot of points, collect a lot of rebounds and accumulate a lot of direct deposits in the middle of the forest and no one will be around to hear it. Avoiding a fourth year at this price qualifies as a minor victory for Charlotte.

12 comments
KevinTravers
KevinTravers

With the draft this year... whyyyyy

Do they really think this will take them to the playoffs?

Cherrie
Cherrie

Wow! Seems to me that  MJ is NOW a little serious in turning his team to a winner!

Teresita
Teresita

Good Deal for me! Al is a monster down low!

JizzMasterZero
JizzMasterZero

When did Kwame Brown change his name to All Jefferson?

cjsamms
cjsamms

They had to stop the bleeding at some point. I'd like this move better if they weren't paying $14 mil. A lot depends on what else they do over the next 3 yrs.

MichaelWallis1
MichaelWallis1

@Teresita, he may be one dimensional but at least he will help the Bobcats be better. At least MJ is finally making the effort to make his team better. 

MichaelWallis1
MichaelWallis1

@cjsamms, well, when you have been losing like the Bobcats have been., you need to overpay to land a quality free agent.

WillSams
WillSams

@freddyviolaNBA fans kill me.  I will never understand fans desire to tank just to get one freaking player.  Its a team game and I'll enjoy seeing how the team moves forward with a player who knows what the heck they are doing in the low post.  Winning would be nice, but signing an actual talented big man pops my Richter scale.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@ShawnKemp2012 You guys are priceless with your chronic complaints.  When a player signs with a lower echelon team you gripe that the player is only playing for money and not to win.  When players ask to be traded from bad teams or leave bad teams via free agency you whine that they are not willing to stick it out and build a winner on their current team.  

cjsamms
cjsamms

I get that they had to overpay him. I'm just saying it's a pretty good move even though I don't like the price tag.