Charlotte Bobcats agree Al Jefferson deal
Unrestricted free agent Al Jefferson to join Charlotte Bobcats after leaving Utah Jazz
Former Utah Jazz centre 'Big' Al Jefferson has verbally agreed to join the Charlotte Bobcats, according to ESPN.
The 28-year-old, who was selected by the Boston Celtics with the 15th overall pick of the 2004 draft, will reportedly sign a three-year deal worth $41m that also includes a player option after the second year.
In a free agency class not littered with a plethora of star names, Jefferson was widely regarded as the third most coveted big man after Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers and the enigma that is Andrew Bynum.
Indeed, many anticipated that Jefferson would perhaps prolong the decision over his own future until Howard publicly announces which of the five suitors currently vying for his signature he intends to join.
Jefferson, however, was obviously keen to join the Michael Jordan-owned franchise who had made him a high-priority target. Jefferson will not be able to officially join the Bobcats until July 10, though, when the NBA's moratorium on trades and signings ends.
Following a three-year stint with the Celtics, Jefferson was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2007 as part of the deal which brought Kevin Garnett to Boston. Three years later, Jefferson found himself the subject of another trade, this time he was dealt to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Kosta Koufos and two future draft picks.
During his time in Utah, Jefferson became the Jazz's primary offensive weapon, averaging 17.9 points as well as 9.2 rebounds last season and leading the team in both categories.
Although a dominant and prolific low-post scorer, Jefferson traditionally polarised the opinion of Jazz fans, many of whom often criticised him for his lack of ability on the defensive end of the floor.
His departure from the Jazz following the expiration of his contract this summer was inevitable due to the franchise's desire to secure greater minutes for promising young talent such as Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
For the Bobcats, who are a paltry 28-120 over the past two campaigns, Jefferson's signing appears to demonstrate a real desire to improve their frankly dismal form.
Although they are obviously still evidently hugely reliant on draft picks, the acquisition of Jefferson, who is surely the most high-profile scoring threat the Bobcats have had since they joined the NBA 2004, suggests the Bobcats front office may be beginning to adopt a more immediate, short-term strategy.
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