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News » Charlotte Bobcats Getting Inside 2008-08-29

Charlotte Bobcats Getting Inside 2008-08-29

Charlotte Bobcats Getting Inside 2008-08-29
After signing a six-year, $72 million contract, Emeka Okafor said he never considered playing for any team but the Charlotte Bobcats.

Consider that more good manners than total candor.

Ultimately, Bobcats management and Okafor's representatives came to common ground on what would be a fair, long-term contract for the team's center and original draft pick. However, there were some friction and hurt feelings along the way.

Okafor was offered closer to $10 million per season at the outset of free-agency this summer, a significant reduction from the $12 million average offered a year ago. Okafor turned that down, but eventually got an additional guaranteed season out of the new deal once reaching restricted free-agency.

Okafor's camp was sufficiently frustrated that the Bobcats were asked to consider sign-and-trade alternatives that would have sent Okafor elsewhere, in return for compensation. Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins said he wouldn't consider a sign-and-trade, then worked toward an offer that would satisfy Okafor.

Okafor signing a one-year, $7 million qualifying offer might have been disastrous for the Bobcats. In the summer of 2009, he would have been an unrestricted free agent, meaning he could have signed elsewhere without the Bobcats reserving the right to match that offer.

Okafor might not be the Bobcats' best player, but he would have been particularly difficult to replace. One of only four NBA players to average a double-double each of the past four seasons, Okafor's rebounding and shot-blocking are crucial on a team that is generally weak defensively.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: August 29, 2008


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