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June 30, 2009

Rookies loaned out for summer league

 Looks like the Bobcats are loaning Gerald Henderson to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Derrick Brown to the Utah Jazz, to get their rookies some summer-league experience.

Just saw the rosters, and Henderson is with the T'Wolves in the Las Vegas league, while Brown is with the Jazz in Orlando. The Bobcats chose not to field a summer-league team to save money. Coach Larry Brown indicated before the draft that they'd look for alternatives so the rookies could get some run in July.

By playing with the T'Wolves, Henderson will be sharing time at shooting guard with high-school teammate Wayne Ellington, who played at North Carolina.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 30, 2009 at 04:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (17)

June 29, 2009

New D-League affiliate: Portland, Maine

       The trip between Charlotte and the Bobcats' Development League affiliate just got a little shorter.

       The Bobcats and Boston Celtics will be affiliated with the D-league's new Portland, Maine, franchise. Last season, the Bobcats sent rookies Alexis Ajinca and Sean Singletary to D-league assignments with the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Skyforce.

        Bobcats coach Larry Brown wasn't big on sending rookies to the D-League last season, but ultimately was happy with how the experience worked out, particularly for Ajinca. I doubt Gerald Henderson ends up in Maine next season; he's got a great chance to be in the rotation as Raja Bell's backup. Derrick Brown could spend some time there, but considering how mature he seems, and how delighted the Bobcats were he was available 40th, he could stay with the Bobcats all next season.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 29, 2009 at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (31)

June 23, 2009

The latest entering the draft

Some educated guesses, as of Tuesday night:

-- I don't believe the Bobcats have made a promise to draft Louisville's Terrence Williams with the 12th pick. However, I do believe Williams is the frontrunner, should he last that long Thursday. There's no good reason for the Bobcats to make a promise, because they have no idea who else might last to 12 in this crazy draft.

-- Wake Forest's James Johnson is coming in Wednesday for a second workout with the Bobcats. While they could trade down, don't dismiss the possibility they use the 12th pick on Johnson. They need a Plan C, should Williams and Duke's Gerald Henderson both be gone.

-- Syracuse's Jonny Flynn will be gone by Milwaukee's 10th pick -- count on it. The other thing that would be good for the Bobcats is New Jersey drafting Tyler Hansbrough with the 11th pick. Unlikely as that would seem a month ago, Hansbrough wowed Nets management with his Tuesday workout. The Nets think Hansbrough is good enough to be the 11th pick; the issue is more the abundance of big men already on New Jersey's roster.

-- As general manager Rod Higgins said Tuesday, they're looking at trade possibilities. It's conceivable they'd trade down for Chicago's 16th and 26th picks in the first round. But I'd say that, unlike the NFL, trading quality for quantity is a dicey tactic in the NBA.

 -- This draft gets squishy as early as No. 2, but I hear the Memphis Grizzlies will take Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet. Don't be surprised if Ricky Rubio lasts a while Thursday, not because he lacks talent, but because his Spanish contract issues complicate everything. If Sacramento drafts Tyreke Evans, it gets complicated for the Minnesota Timberwolves, because new Wolves GM David Kahn craves Evans.

 -- A stab in the dark: Stephen Curry is a Golden State Warrior come draft night.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 23, 2009 at 11:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (35)

May still wants to be a Bobcat

Sean May told the Observer Tuesday that he'd like to re-sign with the Bobcats, despite their decision not to make him a $3.6 million-plus qualifying offer.

"Obviously I am a little disappointed that I wasn't extended my qualifying offer. As I do understand that this is a business, I can't be mad at the Bobcats,'' May said via e-mail. "I know they have to do what is best for their organization.  I am still open to being here in Charlotte.

"Regardless of what happens, this is home for me so it would be easier to stay here and play here, but just as they have to do what's best for their organization, I have to do what's best for me and my family.

"And all I want is an opportunity to play and contribute.  Last year was really tough because I felt like I could play and help this team.  Right now I'll sit and wait and see what happens in the draft, see what teams do.  Then, if and when the Bobcats make an offer, my agent will let me know.  If it's a fair deal, I will definitely look hard at it because I do want to finish what I came here to do, and that's help this organization win games and reach the playoffs.

"Due to some misfortune and injuries, I haven't been able to live up to that!. I feel better than I've felt in years.  This is the first summer that I've been healthy at the end of the season. I only took six days off to go home at the end of the season, so for June 23, I feel like I'm in pretty good shape.  Whatever happens, all I know is a team is going to get a healthy Sean, and a player with a lot to still prove. So we'll see what happens.''

Posted by Observer Sports on June 23, 2009 at 05:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (13)

Higgins: No qualifying offer for May

Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins just said the team has decided not to make a $3.6 million qualifying offer to Sean May. That means power forward May, the 13th pick in 2005, will be an unrestricted free agent in July.

Higgins said the team is still open to re-signing May, but his lack of production last season, combined with his qualify offer number, made them pass on restricting his movement.

Higgins reiterated that the Bobcats are making a $5.5 million qualifying offer to restrict point guard Raymond Felton's free-agency.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 23, 2009 at 11:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (62)

Bilas: Take Williams over Henderson

I respect that Jay Bilas isn't one of those "Be true to your school'' zealots. So I wasn't surprised Monday when he said he'd pick Louisville's Terrence Williams over Duke's Gerald Henderson.

Bilas, an ESPN analyst who lives in Charlotte, once played for Duke. The Bobcats could be choosing between Henderson and Williams when they make the 12th pick Thursday night. Bilas said the call would be close, but that Williams has the more rounded game.

Summarizing Bilas' answer to my question, in a media conference call:

Jay said Henderson is the better offensive player, but that speaks more to what an unreliable shooter Williams is. Bilas noted that Williams is bigger, stronger, more versatile (he can play shooting guard or small forward) and a better passer and rebounder. And he said Williams has a better feel for the game than Henderson.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 23, 2009 at 10:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (39)

June 22, 2009

On Jordan's jumper and second looks

Jordan Airball Jordan?

Bobcats managing partner Michael Jordan was in town for Monday's second workouts of Gerald Henderson and Terrence Williams. Afterward, Jordan went out on the floor and put up some shots with the players. He's obviously taken more golf shots than basketball shots lately because he was wide left on one attempt, catching nothing but the floor on a 20-footer.

To my knowledge, this is the first workout this spring that Jordan has attended. That adds to the sense that the Bobcats are focused on shooting guards Henderson and Williams for the 12th pick Thursday night. Of course a trade, or both of them being gone among the first 11 picks, could change all that.

Henderson and Williams will both be in New Jersey Tuesday to give the Nets a second look. I'm told Jonny Flynn, Tyler Hansbrough and Brandon Jennings will also be part of that workout.

I asked coach Larry Brown to contrast Henderson and Williams. I'll go into more detail in my story for the Observer (and this website), but here's the short version: Brown sees Henderson as a pure shooting guard with a lot of untapped potential. He sees Williams as a mult-position player (a little bigger and stronger, so he can play shooting guard or small forward) with the ballhandling and passing skills to be a point forward.

Brown made it clear he'd be happy to coach either one of them.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 22, 2009 at 11:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (33)

Henderson, Williams back for 2nd workout

The Charlotte Bobcats have convincecd shooting guards Gerald Henderson and Terrence Williams to come in today for a combined second workout, one more strong indication how serious the Bobcats are about selecting one of them with the 12th pick.

Williams told Nets writers Friday that he was done with workouts, but obviously the Bobcats' interest in him swayed the situation.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 22, 2009 at 07:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (11)

June 19, 2009

My guess: Henderson or Williams

 The Bobcats are done with pre-draft workouts now, unless they bring back a player or players Monday for a second look. I have this gut instinct the Bobcats will use the 12th pick on Duke's Gerald Henderson or Louisville's Terrence Williams if either one is still available.

I don't know which one they'd prefer if both were available, but I'm told they could both be gone. The Toronto Raptors would consider Henderson with the ninth pick and the New Jersey Nets might like Williams at No. 11.

I don't know what they'd do if both are gone, although I'm thinking Louisville forward Earl Clark makes some sense, even if he doesn't fill a need. Or they could draft someone they haven't worked out. They proved last year they'd do that, when they selected D.J. Augustin.

With Augustin on the roster and the Bobcats intending to re-sign Raymond Felton, the Bobcats look pretty set at point guard. That might have been a factor in who chose not to work out here. Coach Larry Brown said they tried to bring in Syracuse's Jonny Flynn, UCLA's Jrue Holiday and North Carolina's Ty Lawson. None of them did, and another point guard -- Wake Forest's Jeff Teague -- cancelled his workout.

Makes me think agents find it hard to believe the Bobcats would use another lottery pick on another point guard this draft.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 19, 2009 at 11:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (59)

June 18, 2009

Room for another small forward?

-- It was obvious, listening to Bobcats coach Larry Brown, that he was impressed by Louisville's Earl Clark Thursday. Brown compared Clark to both Tim Thomas and Boris Diaw, just the kind of versatile, highly skilled players Brown likes.

Brown has said repeatedly that talent should outweigh need in making any draft pick. But I wonder how much Clark would play on a roster that already includes Gerald Wallace and Vladimir Radmanovic. Clark probably isn't strong enough to play power forward anytime soon at the NBA level; he needs to be a 3.

-- Wake Forest's James Johnson made an interesting point about these pre-draft workouts; that half the trick to doing 12 auditions in a month is forgetting whatever you learned on the last stop.

"You might have been coached differently, told to play their defense a different way,'' Johnson said. "When you come here, you've got to listen and react for the solid hour and 45 minutes you work out.''

That's even more true at the Bobcats workout, since Brown does more teaching and less drill work; he wants to assess how quickly players process information.

-- Unless something changes, the Bobcats will wrap up their workout schedule Friday.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 18, 2009 at 12:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (28)