Tuesday the Charlotte Bobcats traded big men Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinca to the Dallas Mavericks. The Bobcats acquired forward Eduardo Najera, ex-Bobcat Matt Carroll and, most importantly, the unguaranteed final season on the contract of center Dampier.
The Bobcats either could waive Dampier and owe him nothing or trade him on to a team in search of financial flexibility. Either way, the Bobcats - determined to avoid paying the NBA's luxury tax - have choices now that their salary-cap situation didn't allow before this trade.
"That contract is one of the most valuable contracts in the league," Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins said in a conference call with reporters. "The flexibility is the beautiful part: It might not be for Erick, but for the franchise."
Higgins said the front office - himself, owner Michael Jordan and coach Larry Brown - have no immediate plans to trade or waive Dampier, who's coming to Charlotte for a physical. But it was obvious Higgins appreciates the options.
"If the scenario comes where we choose to waive (Dampier), that $13 million looks pretty good on our books," Higgins said, adding, "this gives us a lot of flexibility going forward."
To accomplish that, they gave up Chandler, acquired nearly a year ago in exchange for the Bobcats' first-ever draft pick, Emeka Okafor. Due in part to injuries, Chandler didn't accomplish much as a Bobcat, starting just two games the last four months of his only season in Charlotte.
Even if the Bobcats waive Dampier, they still have plenty of centers. Nazr Mohammed started 29 games last season, and the team needs to get more out of Gana Diop.