Eight teams reportedly interested in Bobcats free agent Wallace

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Bobcats face heavy
competition in their effort to re-sign leading scorer Gerald Wallace.

Gerald Wallace


Charlotte Bobcats


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
Golden State 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.