Saturday , Jun , 25 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Bobcats exercise option on Okafor

Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) – The Charlotte Bobcats have reportedly
exercised the fourth-season option on forward Emeka Okafor’s original
contract.

According to the Charlotte Observer, the 2005 Rookie of the Year is guaranteed
a $5 million bonus in salary for the 2007-08 season. The move was made 16
months before the option deadline specified in NBA rules, which gave Charlotte
until October 31, 2006 to exercise Okafor’s option.

Okafor, who was the second overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft, had a
terrific rookie season for the expansion Bobcats. He averaged 15.1 points and
10.9 rebounds per game, while also ranking second among all first-year players
in blocks by posting 1.7 per contest.

The Observer also noted that the Bobcats can make Okafor a restricted free
agent in the summer of 2008 and have the right to match any offer he receives.
Charlotte can also negotiate a long-term extension with Okafor during the
summer of 2007.

The 6-10 UConn product was a three-time winner of the Eastern Conference
Rookie of the Month Award (November, December, April) and also had a string of
19 consecutive double-doubles from November 21 to January 1, which was the
longest such streak by any NBA player in 2004-05. Okafor’s string is the
longest by a rookie since 12-time NBA All-Star Elvin Hayes registered 60
straight double-doubles during the 1968-69 campaign.

On the season, Okafor had 47 double-doubles and guided Charlotte to 18 wins in
its first campaign.

CHL