Bobcats closing in on Juwan Howard to help frontcourt

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Bobcats were closing in Tuesday night on signing veteran forward Juwan Howard, who had been without a job since being released by Denver last month.

General manager Rod Higgins said he had been in discussions with Howard's agent, David Falk, and expected a deal completed in next day or two. The Nuggets had also shown interest in re-signing the 35-year-old Howard, in his 15th NBA season.

"We're fortunate that we were able to get in the mix with Juwan," Higgins said.

The 6-foot-9 Howard would be reunited with Bobcats managing partner Michael Jordan, who traded Howard to create salary-cap space in 2001 when Jordan ran the Washington Wizards. Jordan was also represented by Falk during his playing days.

Howard is nowhere near the player he was early in his career, when he made the All-Star Game in 1996. He averaged just 1.1 points in 50 games with Dallas last season, but the Bobcats are desperate for help in their thin frontcourt.

Sean May has been starting at power forward despite coach Larry Brown's concerns about his conditioning following knee surgery last year. The only proven veteran on Charlotte's bench is Nazr Mohammed, whom Brown has played little this season.

The Bobcats, 7-14 entering Wednesday's game in New Orleans, are also looking for veteran leadership. The Bobcats, carrying only 14 players, have an open roster spot.

"He brings a lot to a team not only on the basketball court, but also in our locker room," Higgins said.

Howard's best season was 1995-96, when he averaged 22.1 points for the Wizards. He later had two stints with Dallas and Denver, and played for Houston and Orlando.

Howard has averaged 15.3 points and 6.8 rebounds in his career.