By Ed Niser
The Charlotte Bobcats announced the signing of Kwame Brown to a one-year-deal worth the veterans minimum of $1.3 million dollars.
Brown is often mentioned in talks about being one of the biggest busts in the NBA Draft’s 59 year history. He was the first overall pick in 2001 by the Washington Wizards, opting to skip playing college basketball and head straight to the NBA from high school. Back then, Washington Wizards president Michael Jordan had high expectations for the Georgia High School Player of the Year.
Coming into the NBA as an 18-year-old kid proved to be difficult for Brown; in his first season with the Wizards he averaged an abysmal 4.3 points per game along with 3.5 rebounds.
In his sophomore season Brown played in 20 of the team’s 82 regular season games, improving his numbers to 10.9 points per game and 7.4 boards.
Brown started to have some issues with teammates Gilbert Arenas and his Head Coach Eddie James adding to the frustrations fueled by his mediocre performance.
In the 2005 NBA playoffs, Brown opted to skip a team shoot around and the next game in the series. The Wizards suspended the center for the remainder of the 2005 playoffs.
During the offseason in 2005, Brown was traded along with Laron Profit to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins.
In his three seasons in Los Angeles, Brown averaged nearly eight points per game before being involved in one of the most lopsided trades in the league’s history. He was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies along with Javaris Crittenton, Aaron Mckie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol and cash considerations for now Lakers power forward/center stud Pau Gasol.
The injury plagued Brown has found himself on the inactive list 21 times in his nine year career with a broken foot in 2004 that cost him 40 games along with other moderate ankle and knee sprains.
Brown played in the 2008-2009 season for the Detroit Pistons where he averaged just over five points while recording five rebounds per game as a starter in 30 games.
The big question mark that lingers is whether Brown can live up to his substantially high hype when he was drafted.
Erick Dampier’s fate may be all but certain, his $13 million dollar contract likely to be waived due to the signing of Brown, but no definite word has been released at this time from team General Manager Rod Higgins.
Charlotte was not the only team expressing interest in the 6’11 big man, as Boston had considered signing Brown, but Shaquille O’Neal proved to be a more solid roster move for the Celtics.
Brown gives the depth at the center position, barring the waiving of Dampier’s contract.
If Brown can stay healthy, he may prove to be a steal at the center position for the Bobcats.