CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Charlotte Bobcats face heavy competition in their effort to re-sign leading scorer Gerald Wallace.
The Bobcats were one of eight teams that contacted Wallace when the NBA's free agency period began at midnight Saturday. Dallas, Orlando, Milwaukee, Detroit, Miami, Portland and Golden State all made inquiries, a person close to Wallace said Sunday.
The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, said Wallace hasn't agreed to a deal with any team.
Bobcats part-owner Michael Jordan said last week that re-signing Wallace was one of the team's top offseason priorities. Bobcats vice president of basketball operations Bernie Bickerstaff did not immediately return a phone call Sunday.
Wallace averaged 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds a game last season, when he made just over $5.5 million. He opted out of the final year of his contract, which would have paid him about $6 million, to become an unrestricted free agent. Wallace could command more than $10 million a season in a deal that could run as long as six years.
The Bobcats took on the first big contract in their three-year history last week when they acquired swingman Jason Richardson from Dallas in a draft-night trade. Richardson, who the Bobcats hope will be the go-to scorer they've been missing, is due about $51 million over the next four seasons.
The Bobcats believe a nucleus of Richardson, Wallace, power forward Emeka Okafor and point guard Raymond Felton would get them to the playoffs next season.
The Bobcats, whose $41 million payroll was well under the salary cap last season, still have the money to pay Wallace. Orlando and Milwaukee are also under the cap. Several other teams would have to do a sign-and-trade deal with Charlotte.
Wallace said near the end of last season that he wanted to re-sign with Charlotte after the Bobcats gave him a chance to play. Wallace, who left Alabama after one season, spent his first three years in the NBA at the end of Sacramento's bench.
But the Bobcats selected the 6-foot-7 slasher in the 2004 expansion draft, and he quickly blossomed.
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