Jordan, Bobcats hope trade for Richardson nets more clutch play

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michael Jordan went looking for the go-to
scorer the Charlotte Bobcats lacked in their first three NBA seasons.

Jason Richardson


Golden State Warriors


Unable to make those shots himself from the front office, the
Bobcats' part-owner -- who has the final say on personnel moves --
pulled off a draft night trade Thursday that he hopes gives the
team what it's been missing.

The Bobcats acquired swingman Jason Richardson from the Golden
State Warriors for North Carolina's Brandan Wright, the eighth pick in the draft. Charlotte also got the
Warriors' second-round pick, forward Jermareo Davidson of Alabama,
more than two hours after Jordan selected Wright.

Now Richardson will try to turn into the late-game scorer the
Bobcats need.

"Can he be a Michael Jordan? We're not expecting him to be,"
Jordan said. "Can he be a piece that helps us finish ball games a
lot better? Can he give us a little more firepower on the offense
end? Yes."

With the 22nd pick, the Bobcats took forward Jared Dudley of
Boston College.

Richardson, a five-year NBA veteran, averaged 16.3 points last
season but missed 31 games due to knee injuries. He averaged more
than 19 points a game in the playoffs, when the Warriors upset
top-seeded Dallas in the first round. Richardson averaged 23.2
points in the 2005-06 season.

The Bobcats had inside information on Richardson from general
manager Rod Higgins, who was hired last month after three seasons
with the Warriors. Richardson developed in Oakland after being
chosen with the fifth pick in the 2001 draft.

"He'll blend in, but more importantly he's that guy who wants
to score the ball in the clutch," Higgins said. "He's a terrific
player, a terrific human being."

The move also means the Bobcats will take on a big salary, as
Richardson is owed $51 million over the final four years of his
contract. Charlotte's $41 million payroll last season was the
lowest in the league.

The Bobcats have often struggled late in games in getting off
shots, something they hope Richardson will change. He'll also
lessen the impact if leading scorer Gerald Wallace, an unrestricted
free agent, is not re-signed.

But Jordan, who became part owner last year, said the Bobcats
anticipate re-signing Wallace.

"I fully expect him to be here," he said. "I hope we can come
to some understanding."

The Bobcats had spent the past several days trying to trade both
draft picks. They settled on the Richardson deal just before the
draft began.

"We wanted a veteran player that we felt could be a go-to
player and create his own shot and shots for other people," Jordan
said. "We had some other scenarios that gave us that, but by far
this is the best. We're very happy with what we did."

When the Bobcats picked Wright, they were actually picking for
the Warriors since the trade had already been done.

"I'm pretty sure a lot of Carolina fans were very happy when we
drafted him, but that wasn't our pick," Jordan said.

The 6-foot-9 Wright, who left school after his freshman season,
had been considered a top five pick until late, when his stock
slipped, partly because he weighs only 205 pounds.

Wright, an athletic shot blocker with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, is
considered a rising talent, but the Bobcats were looking for an
immediate impact after going 33-49 last season. New coach Sam
Vincent said they anticipate making the playoffs next season.

Dudley, the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year,
averaged 19 points and 8.3 rebounds as a senior. At 6-7, 225
pounds, Dudley is a rugged player, but some question his

He'll provide the Bobcats with depth at power forward, where
Sean May has played in only 58 of 164 games the past two seasons
because a right knee injury.

"We didn't take Dudley with the idea we're going to replace
May," Jordan said. "We went in there with the feeling that this
guy can hopefully compete with May in getting on that floor."