http://www.gastongazette.com/sports/bobcats_10881___article.html/okafor_year.html"]Link Here[/URL]CHARLOTTE — There was no hesitation, no hint of a contract dispute or even a worry about his future. Emeka Okafor said Monday he was “positive” he’d soon be signing a long-term extension with the Charlotte Bobcats.
“I’m positive that it’s going to happen,” Okafor said during the team’s annual preseason media day. “You just have to be patient and let things work out for themselves.”
Okafor can be a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign with the Bobcats by the end of this month. But he’s eligible to receive as much as a five-year, $85 million extension — or what Orlando has given Dwight Howard, the No. 1 pick in the 2004 NBA draft in which Okafor was chosen second by the Bobcats.
Neither Bobcats part-owner Michael Jordan or general manager Rod Higgins would comment on the negotiations. But team spokesman B.J. Evans said Jordan and Higgins told him they were as committed to signing Okafor to a long-term contract as they have been since last spring, when Jordan said Okafor was a team priority.
A phone message to Okafor’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, on Monday was not returned.
Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace also was confident Okafor would be signed to a long-term contract, but said he hoped it was done before the Oct. 31 deadline so it wouldn’t drag into the season. Wallace signed the Bobcats’ largest contract thus far in their franchise this summer, when he was inked for six years at $57 million.
Okafor, the 2005 NBA rookie of the year, has averaged 14.5 poins, 10.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks while playing in 166 of 246 games during his three-year career.
Great news to hear for both Okafor, the Bobcats, and the fans...(yes, that would be us...) Wonder how much he'll get, I think he'll get a nice amount, and as long term as the Cats can give him...