July 31, 2008
Charlotte Bobcats General Manager Rod Higgins today announced that the team has re-signed restricted free agent forward/center Emeka Okafor to a multi-year deal. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“It was important for us to get a deal done,” Higgins said. “Securing Emeka demonstrates that Bob Johnson and the rest of our ownership group are committed to building a winning franchise in Charlotte. Any time you have a player who consistently ranks among the NBA’s best in rebounding and shot blocking, you want to keep a guy like that around.”
The second overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, Okafor earned 2004-05 NBA Rookie of the Year honors, becoming just the third player from an expansion team to win the award. The 6-10 Okafor has played in 248 games over four seasons with the Bobcats, averaging 14.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots.
“This is a great opportunity for me to continue my NBA career with the franchise that selected me back in 2004,” Okafor said. “The Bobcats and the entire Charlotte community embraced me from day one, and it’s exciting to enter this season with a Hall of Fame coach and teammates who are committed to winning.”
Okafor is one of only four NBA players to average a double-double in each of the last four seasons, along with Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. He is the Bobcats all-time leader in rebounds, blocked shots and double-doubles, and ranks second in scoring, field goal percentage and minutes played. Okafor will enter the 2008-09 season with active franchise-record streaks of 93 consecutive games played and 92 consecutive games started.
Okafor averaged 13.8 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots during the 2007-08 season, while shooting a career-high .535 from the field and playing all 82 games for the first time in his career. Okafor ranked sixth in the NBA in rebounding, tied for 10th in both blocked shots and double-doubles and 12th in field goal percentage. He was one of 13 players in the NBA to average a double-double for the season.
In 2006-07, Okafor averaged 14.4 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks and was the only player in the NBA to rank in the top 10 in rebounds, blocked shots and double-doubles. He blocked a career-high and franchise-record 10 shots on January 12, 2007, against the Knicks, setting a Madison Square Garden record and tying the NBA record of eight blocked shots in a half. Okafor averaged 12.9 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in an injury-shortened 2005-06 season. Despite playing in just 26 games due to an ankle injury, he still ranked second on the team with 16 double-doubles.
After becoming the first draft pick in Bobcats history, Okafor averaged 15.1 points and 10.9 rebounds in 2004-05, leading all rookies in both categories. One of 11 NBA players to average a double-double for the season, he ranked third in the league in offensive rebounds, fourth in rebounds and double-doubles and 14th in blocks. Okafor was a three-time winner of the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award en route to Rookie of the Year honors.
This is a BIG Step in the right direction for the Bobcats in securing A Great Blue Chip Player for the Future ,, Another excellent demonstration of commitment by Bob Johnson to Make it happen for the Entire Area Fans
I have been a season ticket holder four three years and have been of the opinion that we must spend more to get or to hold onto our key players. I am happy with the current views of the magmnt. and with the mindset and direction you are showing we will be sucessful this year and will be more feared around the league.I know the economy is a challenge now but Mr.Johnson is demonstrating the inevitable. He is showing me he means buisiness and is in this to win and keep a good product on the floor for us.
Way to step up Bobcats and Emeka!! I am glad to see this deal get done and have the foundation of this team established.
Okafor is my favourite player, and a true sportsman! I am happy for him and the Bobcats organization. He should fit well in Larry Brown's system
i am so happy the bobcats resigned okafor now the bobcats are a playoff contender. Calvin:
Okafor is one of the underrated player in the nba.
I think Emeka Okafor is the greatest player in the history of the NBA.
Its about time they worked out something. Now we need one more solid big man that's not injury prone and can average double figures in scoring while Emeka defends and we could enter the playoffs!!!
Meka, Meka, Meka... I think the only reason Emeka Okafor doesn't get enough love is because he plays for the 'cats. Hopefully Larry Brown can actually run some plays for him and get his scoring average up 'cause that is another reason the dude isn't considered as elite as his numbers should make him. The rebounding that he brings is incredible and I think that is what most NBA teams lack: rebounding. Anyways, the kids in Charlotte should do better this year and I even kind of expect them to squeeze an eighth seed outta there season. Atlanta is struggling to keep their core form last season and seem like they have very little heart. If Charlotte wants it though, they need more than 13.8 points a game down low from Meka.
great job signing okafor he has shown a lot of durability and toughness during his career. I think if sean may has a healthy season that could really hel the bobcats, especially okafor because he will help him rebound and score.
Lets rock!! I can't wait. GO BOBCATS
YEAH! Way to go! I would have been extremely disappointed had you not resigned Emeka! He is one of the hardest working, smooth players I have ever seen. The role he plays with our team is vital; he enables the other players to do their parts beter. I look forward to watching him again, he is poetry in motion.
Finally! I am so glad the Bobcats did this. He's the cornerstone and should really get better than ever with Coach Brown. Thanks BobCats!
I think the Bobcats made a good deal and wise one at that...they now have their "main attraction" for the next couple of years...with richardson and wallace they should compete for an eighth seed in the east...and when doing that they neeed more then 14 points a game from Meka...Get him upto 19 points...sitll make him grab the boards...and the cats will be allright...Go bobcats!
Fantastic Work resigning Emeka. Will go along way in getting us to the playoffs.
Aside from TMAC, Mek is my fave player. I always get him in nbalive. hahaha. okay, forget about that. i like him coz he's not bossy, not conceited, but shows great leadership. and the addition of Brown, oh yeah. Charlotte!
Great for the Bobcats. The re-signing of Okafor brings some especially crucial elements of a Larry Brown coached team... coachabilty, defense, unselfishness, toughness and consistency. Now, do the Cats use him as a "5" and insert Sean May as the "4" or use him as a "4" alongside Nazr Mohammed. I believe that Coach Brown will eventually fall in-love with Jared Dudley and start him at "3" and slide Gerald down to "4" and use Emeka as the "5"...just a hunch though. But, would we rebound well enough and is Gerald big enough to defend the less offensive-inclined post player and keep him off of the boards? In Larry Brown I trust.
Let us know what you think.
Send us your response to this article or video and we'll post it on bobcats.com using your selected screen name.