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'Cats Claim All Peachy Keen With Mek

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Despite reports to the contrary, the Bobcats seem to believe that all is going well in their negotiations with restricted free agent Emeka Okafor.

As reported by the AP:

Nearly a month since becoming a restricted free agent, Emeka Okafor is not close to a new deal with the Charlotte Bobcats.

Yet general manager Rod Higgins remains confident Okafor will remain a Bobcat.

Higgins insisted Friday that talks have not reached a stalemate. He said he's spoken to Okafor's agent, Jeff Schwartz, as recently as Thursday and said the team is not entertaining sign-and-trade offers for their starting big man.

"There aren't any hard feelings on either side," Higgins said. "We continue to talk."

This seems like an ideal time for Higgins not to really screw up too terribly.

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Once more this year, the 'Cats went through something far less than a banner season in their fourth year of existence.  Michael Jordan's second reign as an executive hasn't been too successful.  The team already seems to be giving up on once-franchise point guard Raymond Felton, and there is a new highly-paid coach in town.

Rumor had it last week that the Okafor camp was nearing calling an end to all talks with the Bobcats' brass.  The team absolutely cannot afford that right now.  It would likely lead to a sign-and-trade netting far less than equal value for the likable and consistent Okafor, and it's hard to imagine an Okafor move helping the team at this point.  The guy is a young leader who likes to work hard and will likely flourish under Larry Brown.  The sooner the 'Cats pony up what they need to get the guy and get the move taken care of, the better.