While the Charlotte Bobcats still hope to re-sign restricted free agent Gerald Henderson, the team is prepared to consider other options, such as a sign-and-trade, an informed source said Thursday.
Bobcats management and Henderson’s representatives talked by telephone Wednesday to discuss what Henderson wants and what the team might be prepared to pay him as part of a new deal.
Yahoo Sports reported early Thursday morning that the two sides appear to be at an impasse, pushing the team toward sign-and-trade options to get something for Henderson.
The source, speaking to the Observer on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, said the Bobcats’ first preference is still to keep Henderson, but that other options should at least be explored.
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Henderson, with the longest tenure on the Bobcats’ roster at four seasons, had a strong finish last spring. He scored in double figures in each of the Bobcats’ last 24 games, including 10 games of 20 or more points.
Lucrative deals signed by Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan (last season’s extension worth $9.5 million per season) and Tyreke Evans with the New Orleans Pelicans (a reported $11 million per season) have seemingly raised the asking price for young free-agent guards.
Henderson, 25, said at the conclusion of last season that he would like to re-sign with the Bobcats, in part because he would prefer to be part of rebuilding after two seasons when the team went a combined 28-120.
If the Bobcats delve deeply into sign-and-trade options, it could potentially rekindle their interest in guard Monta Ellis, an unrestricted free agent who last played for the Milwaukee Bucks. Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins was in the Golden State Warriors’ front office when that team drafted Ellis in 2005, out of high school in Mississippi.
Ellis reportedly has parted with long-time agent Jeff Fried, after being disappointed by the market interest in his free agency this summer. Ellis averaged 19.2 points and six assists last season with the Bucks, following a March 2012 trade from the Warriors.
Ellis is 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, so if he joined the Bobcats, the team would have a particularly small backcourt. The Bobcats have featured Kemba Walker, a 6-1 point guard with a scorer’s mentality, as their emerging star.