The Charlotte Bobcats have been surprisingly active thus far in NBA free-agency. They were able to land one of the best big men on the market by agreeing to a deal with Al Jefferson and re-signed another solid big man in Josh McRoberts. They were also one of the final teams in the running to land Monta Ellis before Ellis signed with the Dallas Mavericks.
Now the Bobcats are down to a few of their final orders of business, one of which is re-signing restricted free-agent Gerald Henderson. Almost a week ago, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that contract talks had stalled and the Bobcats were looking for a sign-and-trade involving Henderson. According to a report for Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears from Tuesday, though, talks between Henderson and the Bobcats have resume, but the two parties are “still not close on” money.
Henderson was drafted by Charlotte with the 12th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and has played all four of his NBA seasons with the Cats. Last year he played 68 games for Charlotte, playing 31.4 minutes per game and averaging 15.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and one steal per game while shooting 44.7 percent and a career-high 33 percent from three.
With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist still getting acclimated to the pro game, Henderson was arguably the best wing-defender on the Bobcats last season. Like most of the Bobcats, he struggled with closing out shooters last year, but he was really great in terms of defending off of screens and in isolation sets.
In 72 plays where his man attacked off of a screen that wasn’t part of a pick-and-roll, Henderson ranked 128th in the NBA by allowing just 0.97 points per possession. Moreover, in 80 sets where he was put in isolation, he ranked 37th in the league by allowing 0.66 points per possession and forcing opponents to shoot just 32.3 percent from the floor.
Henderson was also a huge defensive option for Charlotte last season, especially with his improved shooting. He still only shot 33 percent from long-range, but considering that his previous career-high was a 23.4 percent three-point percentage, he showed a vast improvement in that area.
However, the problem with Henderson is that he’s 25 years old and nearing his ceiling as an NBA player. His offensive game is always going to be more confined to him attacking more than it is him knocking down jumpers. With Kemba Walker being more of an attacking scorer as well and with Jefferson and Cody Zeller being scorers in the post, Henderson’s skill-set is somewhat redundant when what the Bobcats really need on the wings is shooters.
If the Bobcats can get Henderson down to a reasonable price, then they should bring him back because his defense is definitely a valuable commodity. However, if they would have to pay him $7-$8 million over the next few seasons, then they need to pursue other options. He may have that type of value to some teams in the NBA, but with his skill-set and the way Charlotte is currently constructed, he’s simply not worth that type of money for them.