Felton signs one-year deal with Bobcats

Per the Charlotte Observer

The Charlotte Bobcats and Raymond Felton’s agent both confirmed this morning that Felton has signed the one-year, $5.5 million qualifying offer for this season, which will make him an unrestricted free agent next summer.

This amounts to an acknowledgement that the team and Felton couldn’t work out a long-term deal. Agent Kevin Bradbury said Felton isn’t upset by that and wants to remain in Charlotte.

The solid play of D.J. Augustin has made Felton expendable in Charlotte. Felton averaged 14.2 points and 6.7 assists last year, but shot less than 41% from the field and less than 29% from long range.

When restricted free agents are unable to work out a long-term deal, it’s a sign that they will be moving to a different zip code within a year. We’ll see if that holds true for Felton.

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Report: AI to the Bobcats

According to a Dime source, Allen Iverson is headed to Charlotte to reunite with former head coach Larry Brown.

Friday night, Dime’s Aron Phillips spoke to an unnamed source who works in the NBA and said that Allen Iverson has worked out the details of a contract with the Charlotte Bobcats, but the deal won’t be official until next week. The general consensus surrounding A.I. is that the 34-year-old is too stubborn to blend into a contender’s system, and at the same time, will stunt the development of any up-and-coming young team. But Iverson in Charlotte could be a win-win for both sides: The ‘Cats need a go-to scorer on the perimeter, and Raja Bell and Gerald Henderson are more than expendable as far as coming off the bench while Iverson starts at two-guard.

Iverson is one of the league’s all-time most popular players, so he should help the Bobcats move some jerseys as well. Depending on what the team decides to do with D.J. Augustin, this could greatly impact Felton’s bargaining position heading into next summer. If Augustin starts, then Felton will have to come off the bench in a reserve role, and that will hurt his numbers.

2009 NBA Free Agency: Who’s left?

Aside from Lamar Odom and his ongoing saga with the Lakers and Heat, all of the big-name unrestricted free agents are off the market.

Restricted free agency is a completely different animal. Since a team still holds a player’s rights for another season, there is no huge rush to get a deal done, especially if the team and the player’s camp are far apart in terms of the player’s value. The deeper into the summer negotiations go, the more likely it is that the player will play out the final year of his rookie deal for the qualifying offer and enter unrestricted free agency in 2010. Here’s an update on the top remaining names on the restricted free agency market.

David Lee
Lee and the Knicks are still at an impasse. The Knicks look to be willing to match any offer up to about $8 million per season, while Lee’s camp is looking for a deal averaging in the $10-$12 million range. There was some talk that the potential one-year deal for Nate Robinson might prompt the Knicks to get moving on a long-term contract for Lee, but even that Robinson deal is just a rumor. Like many restricted free agent negotiations, this looks like a case of the two sides being far apart on the player’s value and given the Knicks’ apparent unwillingness to work out a sign-and-trade, all signs point to Lee playing out the final year of his deal and entering unrestricted free agency next year. Lee is frustrated in no small part because his qualifying offer ($2.3 million) is well below his market value.

Ramon Sessions

The Knicks, Clippers and even the Sixers may be interested, but no one has signed Sessions to an offer sheet yet. The Bucks are likely to match most offers up to the mid-level, but there is still enough uncertainty about Sessions that teams seem unwilling to sign him to a full mid-level deal (five years, $34 million). Based on what I’ve read from Sessions’ agent, Jimmy “Chubby” Wells, he’s not sure what the Bucks are doing. It seems like a four-year deal in the $12-$15 million range would do the trick. That way, Sessions would get some long-term security and would be able to negotiate another contract when he’s 27. On the flip side, the Bucks would get a backup plan if Brandon Jennings doesn’t pan out. But what do I know? I’m just a blogger.

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Felton, Bobcats not close to a deal

Raymond Felton is having a tough time coming to terms with the Charlotte Bobcats on a new deal.

“We’re definitely not close as far as what we’re discussing and what we think fair market [value] is for Raymond,” Bradbury said Wednesday, a day after the meeting.

While Bradbury declined to discuss numbers, he indicated there was a surprisingly hefty difference in the deals he and Higgins proposed for the restricted free agent point guard.

Felton, the Bobcats’ first-round pick in 2005, has maintained he wants to stay in Charlotte. After averaging 14.2 points and 6.7 assists last season and winning over coach Larry Brown, the Bobcats have made re-signing him a top offseason priority.

The Bobcats could match any offer he receives, and Bradbury said he’s had some informal talks with teams. Felton could also sign the one-year tender of $5.5 million and become an unrestricted free agent next season.

Here’s what I wrote about Felton for our 2009 NBA Free Agency Preview:

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2009 NBA Free Agency Preview: The top restricted free agents

Yesterday, I ranked the top unrestricted free agents of 2009, but now it’s time to look at this summer’s crop of restricted free agents (RFA). Teams can sign an RFA to an offer sheet, then his team has seven days to match that offer to retain him. If the player doesn’t sign an offer sheet and can’t come to terms on a new contract with his current team, then he will play for a year for the qualifying offer and then become an unrestricted free agent the following summer.

For each player, I’ll provide his position, age, Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and an estimate of what kind of contract he’s likely to sign. They’re ranked in order of total value, which is based on overall talent, age, injury history and cost.

1. Paul Millsap, PF (24)
PER: 18.71
In his third year, this former second round pick had the best season of his career. He averaged 13.5 points and 8.6 rebounds, while shooting better than 53% from the field. While Carlos Boozer was out in December and January, the Jazz got a preview of what this kid can do when he gets starter’s minutes. He was a 17/11 guy during those two months, but the Jazz only went 11-13 in games in which Millsap played during that span. His camp expects a deal similar to the one David Lee is asking for, so something in the $10 million per season range. Is he worth it? Probably. And from the sound of it, the Jazz plan on offering him a deal that will keep him from testing the market. If he does explore his options, it may pay off as the Thunder and Pistons are rumored to have interest.
Value: $9.5 – $10.5 million per year

2. David Lee, PF (26)
PER: 19.07
GM Donnie Walsh said that the Knicks’ picking Jordan Hill in this year’s draft has nothing to do with Lee, but the two play the same position, so of course it’s going to have an effect on how the Knicks and Lee each view their relationship. The other issue is that two of the Knicks’ targets in 2010 are Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire might also play the same position as Lee, though Mike D’Antoni would likely play either at center, allowing Lee to play power forward. He gets most of his points off the glass, so he’d be a good fit with either of those guys. The Knicks are projected to have about $35 million in cap space heading into the summer of 2010 and whatever deal they sign Lee to will cut into that. If they want to keep Lee and sign two big-name free agents, then they’re going to have to rid themselves of either Jared Jeffries or Eddy Curry prior to 2010. I like Lee, but he’s not a guy that you can give the ball to on the block and expect him to score, and that limits his value somewhat as a big man. The Thunder, Kings, Grizzlies, Raptors and Pistons could all make a serious run at Lee, though anytime a team tries to poach a restricted free agent, it’s a delicate balance between offering him enough to convince the other team to let him go, while getting a reasonable deal at the same time.
Value: $9.0 – $10.0 million per year.

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