Bobcats Select Frahm In Expansion Draft
June 22, 2004
By JENNA FRYER
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Choosing an assortment of players with mostly low profiles and low salaries, the Charlotte Bobcats began stocking their roster Tuesday night by selecting 19 players in the expansion draft, including former Gonzaga University sharpshooter Richie Frahm.
Jahidi White of Phoenix, Marcus Fizer of Chicago, Gerald Wallace of Sacramento and Predrag Drobnjak of the Los Angeles Clippers were the most experienced players among the Bobcats' selections from the other 29 NBA franchises.
Frahm signed as a free agent with the Portland Trail Blazers on Sept, 30, 2002, was waived by the Blazers on Oct. 23, 2002, and was signed as a free agent by the Seattle SuperSonics on Sept. 27, 2003. This past season he averaged 3.4 ppg, 1.0 rpg and 0.4 assists/game for the Sonics. He also became the first Sonics rookie since Xavier McDaniel to score 30 points in a game, finishing with 31 on 10-for-11 shooting on Dec. 12 at Denver.
The 6-5, 210-pound Frahm was a Gonzaga senior in 2000, capping his career with 1,621 points and leaving as the all-time leader in 3-point field goals made with 280, a mark since broken by Blake Stepp this past season. He was a two-time All-West Coast Conference pick as a junior and senior. As a junior he helped the Bulldogs shock the NCAA basketball world with their march to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, then helped the Bulldogs to a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2000. He was a sophomore on Gonzaga's 1998 National Invitational Tournament squad that advanced to the second round.
White, a six-year veteran, will have the highest salary of any Bobcats player - $5.88 million. But the Bobcats received $3 million and a future first-round pick from Phoenix for agreeing to take White, who has one year remaining on his contract.
The Bobcats also selected Utah guard Aleksandar Pavlovic, who will be dealt to Cleveland for a future first-round draft pick. Pavlovic will give the Cavs a shooter to replace Jason Kapono, who was one of just four guards chosen by the Bobcats.
"What we want is players who need an opportunity to show they can play. Players talk all the time, they want PT - playing time - and they want to know their role. We can guarantee both," Bobcats coach and general manager Bernie Bickerstaff said.
About 500 fans turned out for the "selection show" and greeted most of the picks with silence. Only Fizer, Wallace and White drew some applause.
But the Bobcats knew going into the draft that few of their selections would be household names. Preferring youth to star power, Charlotte is trying to slowly build a team around players with long-term potential.
A big name will be added in Thursday night's NBA draft when the Bobcats select either Emeka Okafor or high school phenom Dwight Howard.
Charlotte traded the No. 4 pick to the Clippers to move up and make a run at Okafor.
Other selections by the Bobcats were: Indiana center Primoz Brezec, Lakers forward Jamal Sampson, Orlando forward Zaza Pachulia, Boston forward Brandon Hunter and Memphis forward Theron Smith.
"We think this young man is the sleeper of this election," Bickerstaff said of Smith, who appeared in 20 games for Memphis last season and averaged 2.2 points.
Each NBA team could protect up to eight players but had to make at least one player available.
The Bobcats drafted nine restricted free agents, thereby making them unrestricted free agents. In addition to Frahm they included Miami center Loren Woods, Nets forward Tamar Slay, Nuggets guard Jeff Trepagnier, Washington forward Lonnie Baxter, Golden State guard J.R. Bremer, Fizer, New Orleans guard Maurice Carter and Portland swingman Desmond Ferguson.
One glaring omission from the expansion draft was a point guard, which Bickerstaff said he'd try to get through free agency.
"We must find a point guard," Bickerstaff said. "We would look for a
veteran point guard to mentor the younger guys, but it is the young guys' game.
A veteran will be here to give us respect with the referees and professionalism
in the locker room."
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