Bobcats acquire Richardson in draft night trade
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Bobcats traded Thursday for what they hope is the go-to scorer they’ve been missing, acquiring swingman Jason Richardson of Golden State for the eighth pick in the draft, Brandan Wright of North Carolina.
The Bobcats also acquired the Warriors’ second-round pick, forward Jermareo Davidson of Alabama, more than two hours after part-owner Michael Jordan selected Wright, giving the Bobcats a third former Tar Heel.
But Jordan, North Carolina’s biggest-ever basketball star, sent Wright across the country for Richardson, in hopes of giving the Bobcats a late-game scorer they’ve never had in their three seasons.
With the 22nd pick, the Bobcats took forward Jared Dudley of Boston College.
Richardson, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound five-year veteran, averaged 16.3 points while missing 31 games with knee injuries for the Warriors last season. But Richardson averaged more than 19 points a game in the playoffs, when the Warriors upset top-seed Dallas in the first round. Richardson averaged 23.2 points in the 2005-06 season.
The Bobcats have often struggled late in the game in getting off shots, something they hope Richardson will change. He’ll also lessen the impact if leading scorer Gerald Wallace, an unrestricted free agent, is not re-signed.
The Bobcats had spent the past several days trying to trade both draft picks. Vice president of basketball operations Bernie Bickerstaff discussed trades with numerous teams but couldn’t pull off a deal before the draft began.
The 6-foot-9 Wright, who left school after his freshman season, had been considered a top five pick until late, when his stock slipped, partly because he weighs only 205 pounds.
Wright, an athletic shot blocker with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, is considered a rising talent, but the Bobcats were looking for an immediate impact after going 33-49 last season. New coach Sam Vincent said they anticipate making the playoffs next season.
Jordan, who became part owner last year with the final say on all basketball decisions, is getting his second chance at running a team after being fired by Washington four years ago.
Dudley, the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, averaged 19 points and 8.3 rebounds a game as a senior. At 6-foot-7 and 225 pounds, Dudley is a rugged player, but some question his athleticism.
He’ll provide the Bobcats with depth at power forward, where Sean May has played in only 58 of 164 games the past two seasons because a right knee injury.