Charlotte Bobcats open practice and re-sign free agent Derrick Brown
By AP Feed FoxSports
The Bobcats had only nine players on the floor for the start of training camp. They hope to have a few more Saturday.
The Bobcats re-signed restricted free agent Derrick Brown to a one-year deal and expect to get rookie Kemba Walker under contract soon.
They're also continuing to negotiate with free agent Kwame Brown.
The team confirmed the Derrick Brown's deal Friday night after the New York Knicks withdrew their qualifying offer to Brown. Terms were not released. Brown played the majority of his two NBA seasons with Charlotte prior to being waived late last season.
Coach Paul Silas says he views Brown as a backup small forward and looks forward to getting him on the floor Saturday.
''I was hoping we could get him back last but we couldn't,'' Silas said. ''He wants to come back and we really wanted him and I think it's going to work out for both sides.''
Walker has yet to sign a contract, although Bobcats director of basketball operations Rod Higgins expects ''a resolution shortly.''
The same can't be said for fellow lottery pick Bismack Biyombo, who remains in a contract dispute with his former Spanish team. Biyombo is suing his former team Feunlabrada for breach of contract and a civil suit is slated for Dec. 19 in Spain.
Both rookies were relegated to watching practice from the bench.
''Unfortunately he couldn't get out there with his guys, but I know he's chomping at the bit,'' Higgins said of Walker. ''But I would anticipate a resolution shortly.''
Walker, a point guard, helped Connecticut to the national championship last season, averaging 23.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He was selected the Final Four's outstanding player.
Higgins spent a good portion of his day trying to re-sign free agent center Kwame Brown, who played well in starting role late last season. The Bobcats consider Brown a key cog in their scheme, but are determined not to overpay to keep him.
''We're still talking to Kwame and his representatives,'' Higgins said. ''I think Kwame has an opportunity, probably with quite a few teams. Things are so unsettled in terms of the NBA right now I'm sure Kwame is still contemplating offers. And we're still in communication with Kwame's representatives.''
Brown's agent Mark Bartelstein said negotiations with the Bobcats are ongoing, but wouldn't make a prediction as to how things will unfold.
Matt Carroll said it would be huge to get Brown back.
''I saw him the other day and he looks great,'' Carroll said. ''It would be great to have him bringing the momentum from last season into this season. Plus he's a guy who sets some great screens.''
The Bobcats also are looking to add a shooting guard in free agency after failing to land free-agent Mike Dunleavy, who took a better offer with Milwaukee.
Friday night was the first time the new-look Bobcats practiced together as a team, doing so at the team's regular practice gym at Time Warner Cable Arena rather than on the coast in Wilmington, N.C., as they did a year ago.
Corey Maggette, who was acquired from Milwaukee in an offseason trade and figures to be the focal point of the offense, said he's excited about the future in Carolina. Maggette said he understands his role goes beyond being a scorer.
He wants to become the team's leader.
''I have to help show the young guys the ropes,'' Maggette said.
Silas said he everyone reported to training camp in good shape and was impressed with the hustle and the enthusiasm.
''We wanted them to play one scrimmage game and they wanted to play two,'' Silas said. ''So the atmosphere here is good and the attitude is great... We showed them a tape of how we wanted to run and then we went over the running. They were up and down like you wouldn't believe, just playing hard and playing together.''
Maggette said that while guys came to training camp looking athletic, it will still take some time for everyone to get back up to full speed.
''It's still a process where we still need to keep in shape, so it's going to take a few days for guys to get our wind back,'' Maggette said. ''The guys we had on the floor really worked hard and we did the things we had to do.''
Gerald Henderson said his hip feels 100 percent and he's ready to go this season.
Center DeSagana Diop, who is coming off surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, was somewhat limited at practice.
''He played well and ran hard, but he just said coach I have to get in better shape and I understand that,'' Silas said. ''So I don't want him killing himself out here. Right now he's our only center so we have to make sure he's working himself into it so at least we have somebody.''
Silas, who like many coaches around the league wondered if there would even be an NBA season, called Friday night's practice ''heaven.''
''It has been so long since we could work with them and talk to them,'' Silas said. ''It was great.''