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Old 06-12-04, 03:37 AM
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Bobcats have choice of familiar names

Bobcats likely to have choice of familiar names

June 12,2004
RICHARD WALKER
FREEDOM NEWS SERVICE

http://www.newbernsj.com/SiteProcess...Section=Sports

CHARLOTTE - How does an opening Charlotte Bobcats' roster that includes former Charlotte Hornets guard David Wesley, former ACC standouts Rodney Rogers and Juan Dixon and youthful prospect Gerald Wallace get your attention as an NBA fan?

Well, those three players may be among the newest Bobcats following the upcoming NBA expansion draft.

The Bobcats were officially given the names of players that were left unprotected by 27 of the existing NBA teams for the scheduled June 22 expansion draft. NBA finalists Detroit and the Los Angeles Lakers won't send the Bobcats their lists of unprotected players until 24 hours after the completion of their current series.

And should the Pistons-Lakers series go seven games, the draft will be moved back to June 23.

While those names won't be officially revealed by the NBA or the Bobcats, the Gazette has researched or contacted media representatives from each team to come up with a list of players most feel will be left unprotected for the draft.

In the expansion draft, the Bobcats must choose at least 14 players and no more than one player per team. Each NBA had to make at least one player available and could protect eight players, not counting those players who can become free agents on July 1.

"Today we received the lists of protected and unprotected players from every NBA team with the exception of the Lakers and Detroit," Bobcats coach and general manager Bernie Bickerstaff said in a statement released by the team. "Our staff immediately began the process of reviewing, organizing and evaluating the available players and potential expansion selection scenarios.

"We have a number of directions we can take, and over the course of the next 10 days we will thoroughly explore all of our options. On June 22, at the conclusion of this process, we look forward to introducing our fans to the inaugural Charlotte Bobcats."

When the Bobcats begin constructing their roster - the NBA rookie draft is June 24 - it appears they'll have the opportunity to pick eight former Charlotte Hornets players and eight former ACC standouts.

However, as with each of the three recent expansion drafts held during the NBA salary cap era, most teams hope the Bobcats will choose to take high-salaried players who have either outgrown their usefulness with their current teams or don't necessarily warrant the money they're scheduled to make.

The Bobcats likely won't give in to such temptation, even as there are some interesting high-salaried veterans they could choose from.

They include former North Carolina standout Jerry Stackhouse (Washington Wizards), former Duke standout Christian Laettner (Washington Wizards), former Hornets Eddie Robinson (Chicago Bulls), Eddie Jones (Miami Heat) and Malik Rose (San Antonio Spurs) and serviceable veterans like Ervin Johnson (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Antonio Davis (Chicago Bulls).

Another prospect that offter intrigue for the Bobcats is the idea of drafting a player for the sole purpose of trading him to another existing team for either draft picks, cash or other players - or all three.

For now, the Bobcats are expected to hone in on lower-salaried players or youthful prospects.

That's where players like Wesley (New Orleans Hornets), Rogers (New Jersey Nets), Dixon (Washington Wizards) and Wallace (Sacramento Kings) are intriguing.

Wesley has one year left on a contract extension he signed with the Hornets before the team moved to New Orleans after the 2001-02 season.

Additionally, those who follow the Hornets think Wesley will be made available only if the Bobcats will assure them he'll be chosen. If the Bobcats aren't interested, it's possible former Durham Jordan High prep standout Courtney Alexander will be the player New Orleans exposed for the draft.

Similarly, Rogers may or may not be available. A former Durham Hillside High and Wake Forest standout, Rogers has long hoped to play in his home state where he has maintained a offseason residence and also harbors hopes of being a NASCAR car owner.

However, the Nets were reportedly torn between making Rogers or veteran Lucious Harris available for the expansion draft along with three other players.

Two players who seem most likely to draw intrigue from the Bobcats are Dixon and Wallace.

Dixon, who led Maryland to the 2002 NCAA title, has two years remaining on a four-year, $7.58 million rookie contract he signed after being a Wizards' first-round pick in 2002.

Wallace, who left Alabama after one year of college, has one year left on a four-year, $4.22 million rookie contract he signed after being the Kings' first-round pick in 2001.

Other former Hornets expected to made available for the expansion draft are Tony Delk (Dallas Mavericks), Elden Campbell (Detroit Pistons), Alonzo Mourning (New Jersey Nets) and Derrick Coleman (Philadelphia 76ers).

Other former ACC standouts that could be available are Campbell (Clemson), Rick Fox (UNC, Los Angeles Lakers), Dale Davis (Clemson, Portland Trail Blazers) and Greg Buckner (Clemson, Philadelphia 76ers).
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