NBA

Teams contact free agent Felton, not the Bobcats

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)

Unrestricted free agent Raymond Felton has been contacted by seven teams as all signs point to him leaving Charlotte.

The next step may be if the Bobcats can get compensation for their starting point guard through a sign-and-trade deal.

``We would consider a sign-and-trade with the Bobcats if it would help them and Raymond as well,'' agent Tony Dutt said Thursday. ``I was excited by the high level of teams that contacted us.''

Dutt wouldn't name the seven teams, but the Bobcats weren't among them as they appear ready to make a change in the backcourt.

The Bobcats have made no push to re-sign Felton in part because of salary-cap issues. The team's payroll close to the luxury tax, a figure owner Michael Jordan has said the team won't exceed.

Felton, the No. 5 pick in the 2005 draft, has spent his entire career in Charlotte after leading North Carolina to the national championship. After turning down a contract offer from the Bobcats worth about $6 million a season last summer, he averaged 12.1 points and 5.6 assists last season and shot a career-best 46 percent from the field.

But Felton struggled mightily in the first round of the playoffs when he was consistently outplayed by Orlando's Jameer Nelson in the Magic's four-game sweep.

When the Bobcats gave Tyrus Thomas a one-year, $6.2 million qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent and Tyson Chandler didn't opt out of the final year of his deal, it left Charlotte only about $2 million shy of the projected luxury tax figure and may have marked the end of Felton's time in Charlotte.

The Bobcats would like to get compensation for Felton, though, ideally a trade that includes a point guard.

D.J. Augustin is the only other point guard on the roster. Augustin showed up for the Bobcats' summer camp workout here on Thursday, but shied away from questions about Felton's possible departure.

``Right now I'm just working hard. I'm not even thinking about that. I'm not even looking at that,'' Augustin said. ``Whatever happens with the team, that's for the guys above to decide. As a player, as a person, I'm just worried about my game.''

General manager Rod Higgins last month wondered openly if Augustin is ready to be a starter. After a solid rookie season in 2008-09, Augustin struggled for much of last season, averaging 6.4 points and 2.4 assists while shooting just 39 percent from the field.

``I didn't have a great season at all,'' Augustin said. ``I'm not blaming anybody but myself for that. I have to come out, whatever my role is, and play hard every day and do my best.''

Augustin's role might increase dramatically depending on Felton, who is widely considered the top free-agent point guard on the market.

``We will continue to move through this process,'' Dutt said. ``Raymond has a very high respect in this league on and off the court.''

NOTES: G Stephen Jackson also attended the opening workout of Charlotte's rookie and free-agent camp. ... With Larry Brown on vacation, assistant Dave Hanners ran the practice and will coach the team in the Orlando summer league next week. ... The team couldn't go at full speed because condensation on the floor at the RDV Sportsplex. ... C Nathan Jawai (flight issues from Australia) was the only player on the 19-man summer roster missing Thursday.

Tagged: Hornets, Raymond Felton, D.J. Augustin

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