News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Ex-Tide player Wallace stays in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Former Alabama player Gerald Wallace and the Bobcats reached an agreement in principle that would keep the team's leading scorer in Charlotte, executive vice president of basketball operations Bernie Bickerstaff said Wednesday.

"There's still some paperwork issues to work out before we can get everything signed, but we're happy," Bickerstaff told The Associated Press. "It's been a collaborative effort on both sides."

Wallace, who turns 27 later this month, led the Bobcats with 18.1 points per game last season. He also averaged 7.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.0 steals in 72 games.

Wallace became an unrestricted free agent last month, and the Bobcats faced heavy competition in their efforts to re-sign the forward. But Bobcats part-owner Michael Jordan had said keeping Wallace was one of the team's top offseason priorities.

Bickerstaff declined to disclose any details of Wallace's contract. Wallace's agent, Rob Pelinka, said late last season that he and his client were seeking a six-year deal. Pelinka did not immediately return a call Wednesday evening seeking comment.

At least eight teams had pursued Wallace once the free-agency period began July 1. But Wallace, who was one of the Bobcats' first players, said late in the season that he wanted to stay in Charlotte.

Wallace spent three seasons with the Sacramento Kings after they made him their first-round draft pick in 2001. The Bobcats then picked the 6-foot-7 Wallace from the Kings' roster in the 2004 expansion draft. Since then, Wallace has blossomed after being a reserve at Sacramento.

Wallace posted the best offensive season of his career last season after averaging 11.1 and 15.2 points in his first two seasons with the Bobcats. He also became the first NBA player in 14 years to average 2.0 blocks and 2.0 steals in a season.

Re-signing Wallace will mean an even stronger roster for the Bobcats, who already acquired shooting guard Jason Richardson from the Golden State Warriors last month and re-signed free agent guard Matt Carroll.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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