Bobcats sign Okafor for $72 million

I estimated Emeka Okafor’s value to be $12-$12.5 million per season, and apparently the Bobcats agree.

The Charlotte Bobcats have agreed in principle on a six-year contract worth at least $72 million with restricted free agent Emeka Okafor.

The agreement with Okafor by far represents Charlotte’s biggest expenditure on one player as the club readies for its fifth season. Okafor turned down a five-year deal with a similar $12 million annual average before last season, preferring to wait for restricted free agency.

Okafor averaged 13.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks last season in 33.2 minutes per game but never clicked with coach Sam Vincent, who was fired by team president and former teammate Michael Jordan after just one season. Okafor has already played for Brown on the 2004 U.S. Olympic team and has generated plenty of praise from the bench veteran lately.

An annual salary of $12 million would be in line with the contract extension 2005’s No. 1 overall pick Andrew Bogut received from the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this month. Bogut signed a five-year deal for $60 million with hard-to-reach incentives that, if realized, could take the overall worth of the contract past $70 million.

Bogut and Okafor have very similar PERs, but Bogut is a true center while Okafor is more of a defensive-minded power forward type. I’d rather have Bogut because he’s a legitimate threat in the post and a terrific passer. Both players averaged 1.7 blocks per game.

The Bobcats didn’t overpay for Okafor, so it looks like a good deal for both sides.

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