Rare among the NBA’s free agents this summer, Antawn Jamison can join a new team and keep the home team happy all at once.
Jamison, the veteran forward who has played for four franchises in 14 seasons, still would like to add a championship ring to his resume of basketball achievements. But he also feels a tug to sign with the Charlotte Bobcats, a team that’s about as far removed from a Larry O’Brien Trophy as, say, the Montreal Canadiens but offers something the others don’t: The perfect home schedule.
Jamison has made his home in the Charlotte area, where he grew up and attended high school before heading to the University of North Carolina and, soon enough, NBA riches. He has four children who range in age from 2 years old to 12, and the prospect of seeing them more than in any previous season tugs at him.
That’s why Bobcats management had his ear over a two-hour dinner Thursday, wrote the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell.
“My kids – being around them is very important,” Jamison said in an exclusive interview Friday with the Observer. “I want to see them every day. And when I’m on the road, when I haven’t seen them for weeks, I hear, ‘When are you coming home?’ ”
The Bobcats are prepared to pay Jamison to serve as mentor on a young, rebuilding team. Jamison would be a good fit on several levels; he’s savvy and personable – a pro’s pro. And he can still play, after averaging about 17 points and over six rebounds last season in a similar role with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It’s not as if the Miami Heat or the Oklahoma City Thunder has Jamison, at 36, atop its free-agent list. And once you get beyond the top two or three contenders, in chasing a ring, the other 27 or 28 teams all wind up watching the games in June on TV anyway.
By sticking close to home, Jamison could be helpful to one group of kids (Bobcats) while staying indispensible to another (his own).