Bobcats Done?

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

After the expansion draft was held to populate Charlotte's roster, GM/coach Bernie Bickerstaff ominously declared that he didn't expect that group of players to be the final group that takes the floor come November. After some relatively small trades and free agent signings, including most recently Omar Cook and with the possible future addition of Loren Woods, Bickerstaff is now admitting that "unless some revelation comes along, I'm willing to roll the dice with what we have."

What do they have? The Bobcats have 16 players on their roster. They have a powerful center/power forward presence in Emeka Okafor, backed up by Predrag Drobnjak and Jahidi White. They have other power forwards in Primoz Brezec, Brandon Hunter, Melvin Ely and Jamal Sampson. They have small forwards in Jason Kapono, Gerald Wallace, and Theron Smith. They have shooting guards in Corey Benjamin, Bernard Robinson, and Tamar Slay. And they have a bevy of point guards in Jason Hart, Eddie House, and Omar Cook.

How many of those names strike fear into the heart of opponents?

Each deal I have seen the Bobcats do has been in Charlotte's favor. They handled the expansion draft masterfully, they moved up to get Okafor, they got essentially free players from a Clippers team looking to make itself attractive to Kobe, and they signed some quality free agents. I don't know what would have been better for them. But the team they have assembled is clearly not good enough to compete next season. Or more specifically, it would be a surprise if they did.

But if the Bobcats are done dealing, perhaps it is because they don't want to take on the financial strains of players that might help them for one year but cost the franchise its future.

For an expansion team, winning in the first year perhaps doesn't matter. Winning in the third year is what matters.

The Bobcats have released their 2004-2005 season schedule.


WQAD reports: Former Chicago Bulls forward Marcus Fizer has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge in exchange for probation.Fizer made the plea yesterday during a hearing at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in Chicago. Circuit Judge James Schreier sentenced Fizer to 12 months of probation and a court fine of 25-hundred dollars... Fizer is an unrestricted free agent drafted by the expansion Charlotte Bobcats.

Rick Bonnell ofThe Charlotte Observer writes: The first time Shaquille O'Neal faces the Charlotte Bobcats, the price of admission will be... Good scholarship.The Bobcats announced Wednesday they'll give away the house when Shaq and the Miami Heat play a preseason game at the Charlotte Coliseum on Oct. 26. Tickets for the 11 a.m. game will go to middle school students who've excelled in academics, attendance and attitude. The Bobcats' event, named "Cool School Field Trip," is a first in the NBA, and team president Ed Tapscott hopes to make it an annual tradition. Students selected from middle schools in and around Charlotte will go to the game as part of a day-long program at the coliseum.

Rick Bonnell ofThe Charlotte Observer writes: Bickerstaff said he's interested in signing free agent center Loren Woods, but indicated he hasn't offered him a guaranteed contract. Bickerstaff said the Bobcats still have millions in salary cap room, but he's not particularly excited about the free agents still available: "Unless some revelation comes along, I'm willing to roll the dice with what we have."

The Associated Press writes inThe San Francisco Chronicle: Free-agent point guard Omar Cook signed with the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday after playing for them in a summer league.Cook started the final five games of the Reebok Rocky Mountain Revue, averaging five assists (tied for the league lead), two steals (ranking third) and 3.7 points. "Omar has the innate qualities of a point guard," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "He has good ball-handling skills and a good body, plus a good understanding of the game."