New-look Bobcats may not be done tweaking roster Print
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Friday, 12 December 2008 14:27
NBA Headline News

 CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -It didn't take coach Larry Brown long to determine he didn't like the Charlotte Bobcats' roster. There were too many wing players, not enough big men and too few good defenders.
Wednesday's trade that sent leading scorer Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley to Phoenix for Boris Diaw, Raja Bell and Sean Singletary helped the struggling Bobcats become bigger and better defensively.
But they're likely aren't done tweaking the roster to Brown's liking, leaving virtually every player wondering if they're next to go.
``When your leading scorer and coach Brown's favorite player aren't untouchable, that means pretty much everybody on this roster is not untouchable,'' said power forward Sean May, who will lose his starting job to Diaw. ``He's trying to put his stamp on it, and it is a business.''
Diaw, Bell and Singletary reported to the team Friday and passed their physicals. But because Richardson and Dudley had yet to have their medical checkups with the Suns, they were unable to practice and shielded from the media.
Juwan Howard did practice, hours after the veteran forward signed with Charlotte to provide some depth up front and some locker-room leadership. Little-used forward Dwayne Jones was released.
That's four new guys, and with the Bobcats lacking a consistent scorer, it's likely not the last move the Michael Jordan-led Bobcats make to please Brown, the Hall of Fame coach in his first season with his record ninth NBA team.
``I wouldn't be surprised,'' Brown said when asked if he thought they'd make another trade.
Holding the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference, Brown still thinks the Bobcats (7-16) have too many wing shooters. That means Adam Morrison, Matt Carroll and even starting small forward Gerald Wallace have to wonder what's next.
Wallace, nearly traded on draft night, returned to the team Friday after missing the past three games following his grandmother's death. Now the team's top scorer at 15.3 per game, he declined to speak to reporters after Friday afternoon's short practice.
``I think Boris with Gerald is a pretty good combination,'' Brown said. ``Then we have Juwan, who's a veteran guy who can help so we won't have to push Sean and put him in a position where he's not going to be successful.''
a hole they hope the athletic Diaw will fill.
Brown hinted the 6-foot-8 Diaw, who was averaging 8.3 points and 3.8 rebounds with the Suns but had seen his role diminished since they acquired Shaquille O'Neal, could start on Saturday against Detroit.
``I'm not taking it as a negative, that I lost my job and they're giving up on me,'' May said. ``I'm just taking it as they brought in somebody who's been on a winning team, who's played a lot, under a lot of situations.''
The big question for the current roster is, who will score? Richardson, who hit an NBA-high 243 3-pointers last season, was averaging a team-best 18.7 points. Bell, who averaged 9.6 points in Phoenix, will replace him at shooting guard. But Brown has been using point guards Raymond Felton and rookie D.J. Augustin - perhaps the only player the Bobcats wouldn't consider trading - together for long stretches.
Singletary, another rookie point guard, isn't expected to play major role.
``You're not going to make up 20 points a game,'' Brown said of Richardson. ``But now Raymond and D.J. will play a little bit more together, and Raja will be in the rotation with them. Boris, in this environment, he'll score more. And hopefully if we're better defensively it'll create scoring opportunities for us.''
. So less than two years after Jordan traded for Richardson and anointed him the team's go-to scorer, he's gone.
``We had so many holes to fill,'' Brown said. ``We haven't completely done that, but we have addressed some issues. I think it's more of a pro team.''
So expect Jordan and his top lieutenant, general manager Rod Higgins, to be active in trade chatter after Dec. 15, the date players who signed contracts in the offseason can be included in deals.
``We all know that if Rod Higgins calls our phone,'' May said, ``chances are something's happened.''
 

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