Bobcats coach sweating out Wallace’s free agency

Published 10:50 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

By By MIKE CRANSTON, AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE — These are nervous times for new Charlotte Bobcats coach Sam Vincent.
The answer was no. Wallace, Charlotte’s leading scorer last season, remains a free agent. He’s being pursued by at least seven other teams, and Vincent was in full courtship mode Monday.
Wallace, who averaged 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds last season, opted out of the final year of his contract that would have paid him about $6 million a season. He’ll likely command $10 million or more in a deal that could last as long as six years.
Bickerstaff said he was in contact with Wallace’s agent, Rob Pelinka, on Monday and hopes to strike a deal soon. But teams such as Orlando and Milwaukee have enough cap space to offer Wallace big money. Other teams, such as Dallas and Miami, could try to pull off sign-and-trade deals.
The Bobcats, after pulling off a draft night trade with Golden State to acquire Jason Richardson, believe they will be a playoff team next season — if they re-sign their 6-foot-7 slashing forward.
Vincent spoke Monday as the Bobcats introduced their two draft picks. Jared Dudley of Boston College, the 22nd selection, and second-round pick Jermareo Davidson of Alabama, acquired in the Richardson trade, will suit up Tuesday when Vincent opens his first rookie minicamp.
Bickerstaff, busy working the phones, missed the news conference. Besides Wallace, the Bobcats are also trying to re-sign 3-point specialist Matt Carroll.
The Bobcats are also looking for a point guard to back up Raymond Felton after Brevin Knight was waived on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Bobcats have picked up team options on the contracts of Walter Herrmann and Ryan Hollins, and tendered an offer to restricted free agent Alan Anderson. But backup center Jake Voskuhl has opted out of the final year of his deal to become an unrestricted free agent.
Vincent said Felton and Adam Morrison will play a game or two for the Bobcats’ summer league team in Orlando next week, which will be anchored by Dudley and Davidson.
Dudley, a bruising 6-7 forward, acknowledged he was ‘‘shocked’’ when the Bobcats drafted him because he didn’t feel they showed a lot of interest after his workout with the team.
But Dudley, whose father Anthony lives nearby in Michael Jordan’s hometown, Wilmington, said playing for the Bobcats’ part-owner is a dream.
Jordan also expects to re-sign Wallace, calling the move one of the team’s top offseason priorities.