Sports

Charlotte drafts guard, then 7-foot center

On a busy day that culminated an exhausting week, the Charlotte Bobcats added a point guard and a center Thursday.

And they considered trading away a captain.

The Bobcats used the No. 9 overall pick on Texas point guard D.J. Augustin, a 6-foot playmaker. With the 20th pick, acquired from the Denver Nuggets, the Bobcats chose center Alexis Ajinca, a 7-foot French pro.

With their second-round pick (38th overall), the Bobcats chose Washington State guard Kyle Weaver.

Those moves address the Bobcats' primary needs. They had only one point guard under contract – starter Raymond Felton – and desired another big man.

But drafting wasn't the only transaction the Bobcats contemplated this week. Managing partner Michael Jordan confirmed to the Observer that the Bobcats considered a swap of small forward Gerald Wallace – the sole survivor from the 2004 expansion draft – for Toronto point guard T.J. Ford. Instead, the Raptors are shipping Ford to Indiana for Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal.

The Bobcats chose Augustin over another point guard, Arizona's Jerryd Bayless, and Stanford center Brook Lopez. Jordan made it clear he saw Augustin's pass-first approach as a better fit on this team than Bayless' shooter's mentality.

“Bayless is more a combo (guard), like Raymond,” said Jordan, referring to Felton.

Jordan indicated it was tougher passing over Lopez, a 7-foot low-post scorer. Instead, the Bobcats will look to develop Ajinca, a raw but long and athletic pro for the French team Hyeres-Toulon.

The Bobcats acquired the 20th pick in part because of the depth of big men in this draft. Coach Larry Brown was excited about Ajinca's long-term potential.

“If he was in the draft next year,” Brown said, “he might be in the first three or four picks.”

Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins said the team would have to pay a small buy-out to free Ajinca from his French contract, but that the team anticipates having Ajinca and Augustin in training camp.

Augustin is 6-foot, relatively small for an NBA player, but Brown said that wasn't much of a concern. He noted that Brevin Knight – a player of similar dimensions – started for the Bobcats their first two seasons.

Jordan made it clear that the Bobcats spent the week exploring all sorts of trade possibilities. They tried to move up to as high as fourth in the draft, where they would have had their choice of two UCLA players, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love.

“We just didn't feel we were getting the same value,” Jordan said when asked why they didn't consolidate pick Nos. 9 and 20 for one higher one.

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