Ely signs one-year, $3 million offer with Bobcats

Updated: October 2, 2006, 2:55 PM ET
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C.-- Melvin Ely signed a one-year, $3 million qualifying offer with the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday after turning down offers from Golden State and Phoenix.

Ely, a 6-foot-10 power forward, had until Sunday to accept the Bobcats' offer or work out a sign-and-trade deal with another team. Ely said the Suns were prepared to give him a multiyear deal while the Warriors were offering a one-year contract.

"They both had interest in me. It was a good thing," Ely said "It's happy to be loved, but I didn't feel comfortable making a move. I know Charlotte is home to me, so I came back."

But Ely, who averaged a career-best 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds last season, will face stiff competition for playing time with the Bobcats, who welcome back Emeka Okafor and Sean May from season-ending injuries. The Bobcats also signed Walter Herrmann of Argentina last month, who is expected to play both forward positions.

"Melvin's here. He'll compete and it just makes camp more competitive, which is what we wanted anyway," Bobcats coach and general manager Bernie Bickerstaff said. "No promises have been made to Melvin about minutes or any of those things."

Ely, acquired by Charlotte in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2004, ended up starting 22 games last season when the Bobcats were hit with numerous injuries on the front line.

"It was a crowd last year and I ended up with time, so God willing I'll come into camp and earn it," Ely said. "I know what I need to do here to get time on the floor."

The move means the Bobcats have 16 players with guaranteed contracts and 15 roster spots available once the regular season begins.

Ely acknowledged he turned down the security of a multiyear contract for the comforts of playing with the Bobcats.

"Hopefully I can play well this year and make Charlotte my permanent home," Ely said.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press