Bobcats, Felton differ on contract terms

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Raymond Felton's agent went to Las Vegas confident he was close to hammering out a long-term deal with the Charlotte Bobcats.

Kevin Bradbury left the meeting with Charlotte general manager Rod Higgins disappointed and far apart in negotiations.

"We're definitely not close as far as what we're discussing and what we think fair market [value] is for Raymond," Bradbury said Wednesday, a day after the meeting.

While Bradbury declined to discuss numbers, he indicated there was a surprisingly hefty difference in the deals he and Higgins proposed for the restricted free agent point guard.

Bradbury said both sides remain interested in a lengthy contract.

"At this point I'm not as encouraged as I was a day ago or even a week ago, but that doesn't mean that it can't get done," Bradbury said. "We just have to keep talking."

Higgins was tightlipped about the negotiations when reached Wednesday.

"We're going to continue communicating with Raymond's rep," he said. "I'm not going to get into anything else."

Felton, the Bobcats' first-round pick in 2005, has maintained he wants to stay in Charlotte. After averaging 14.2 points and 6.7 assists last season and winning over coach Larry Brown, the Bobcats have made re-signing him a top offseason priority.

The Bobcats could match any offer he receives, and Bradbury said he's had some informal talks with teams. Felton could also sign the one-year tender of $5.5 million and become an unrestricted free agent next season.

"We all know that Raymond wants a long-term deal," Bradbury said. "He wants to stay in Charlotte and he wants to finish what he started. The Bobcats feel similar to that. It really just comes down to, can we get to the same space together?"

Money has been an issue for Charlotte all offseason, even as they try to obtain another power forward, perhaps through a trade.

The Bobcats, already over the salary cap, are under orders from owner Bob Johnson not to go over the luxury tax threshold of $69.9 million.