Bobcats deal to rebuild

Staff writerJune 24, 2011 

— In one of the biggest trades in Charlotte Bobcats history, the team traded away captain Stephen Jackson in a three-team deal to acquire the No. 7 overall pick in Thursday's NBA Draft.

Armed with the seventh and ninth selections, the Bobcats chose shotblocker/rebounder Bismack Biyombo of the Congo and Connecticut point guard Kemba Walker respectively.

The Bobcats sold their second-round pick, 39th overall, to Golden State.

With this trade the Bobcats continue to dismantle the team's core. Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler have departed over the last 12 months.

In their place is a team that will be young but more in line with the philosophy of new general manager Rich Cho - to slowly assemble assets toward sustainable success.

Biyombo worked out for the Bobcats on Wednesday in a final audition before the draft. Walker averaged 23.5 points per game last season, leading UConn to an unexpected national championship. The question on Walker is his 6-foot-1 height, about the same as current Bobcats point guard D.J. Augustin (6-0).

"As far as my height, that can't be changed," Walker said. "I've been playing for a long time, and I've been doing well with it. I'm just going to continue to play the way I play. I'm going to continue to stay intense and just have heart out there. I think that's what gets me over the hump."

The deal that set up these picks was finalized Thursday afternoon but couldn't be formally announced until the end of the first round of the draft, under NBA rules. Jackson leaves for the Milwaukee Bucks, along with backup point guard Shaun Livingston. The Bobcats gave up the 19th overall pick and also took in return Bucks small forward Corey Maggette, a former Duke star.

The seventh pick came from the Sacramento Kings, who exercised the selection of Biyombo in a pre-arranged deal.

Walker addresses the long-range shooting problem coach Paul Silas mentioned several times after the season, when the Bobcats finished with the second-worst 3-point percentage in the NBA. Walker also should pick up some of the scoring slack left in Jackson's wake.

Jackson was the Bobcats' go-to guy offensively the last two seasons, and it's an open question how they will score in his absence.

Walker figures to play quickly in Livingston's absence. Biyombo might be more of a long-range project, particularly since the Bobcats already have Boris Diaw and Tyrus Thomas at power forward.

At 6-9, Biyombo might be undersized to play center in the NBA. However, the Bobcats have great need at that position, particularly if they fail to re-sign unrestricted free agent Kwame Brown. His ability to guard the rim - he set a Nike Hoop Summit record with 10 blocked shots - would come in handy.

In choosing to select Biyombo seventh, the Bobcats passed on Kentucky's Brandon Knight, generally considered the draft's second-best point guard behind top pick Kyrie Irving of Duke. The Detroit Pistons grabbed Knight with the eighth pick.

The Bobcats figure to lose a lot next season in Jackson's absence. If there's any consolation, it could be avoiding giving up their 2012 first-round pick to the Chicago Bulls.

The Bobcats owe a pick to Chicago from the deal to acquire Thomas, but there are protections on that pick if it's high in the draft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

rbonnell@charlotteobserver.com or 704-358-5129

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