Bobcats face competition to keep Wallace

CHARLOTTE -- The Charlotte Bobcats face heavy competition in their effort to re-sign leading scorer Gerald Wallace.

The Bobcats were one of eight teams that contacted Wallace when the NBA's free agency period began at midnight Saturday. Dallas, Orlando, Milwaukee, Detroit, Miami, Portland and Golden State all made inquiries, a person close to Wallace said Sunday.

The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, said Wallace hasn't agreed to a deal with any team.

Bobcats part-owner Michael Jordan said last week that re-signing Wallace was one of the team's top offseason priorities. Bobcats vice president of basketball operations Bernie Bickerstaff did not immediately return a phone call Sunday.

Wallace averaged 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds a game last season, when he made just over $5.5 million. He opted out of the final year of his contract, which would have paid him about $6 million, to become an unrestricted free agent. Wallace could command more than $10 million a season in a deal that could run as long as six years.

The Bobcats took on the first big contract in their three-year history last week when they acquired swingman Jason Richardson from Dallas in a draft-night trade. Richardson, who the Bobcats hope will be the go-to scorer they've been missing, is due about $51 million over the next four seasons.

The Bobcats believe a nucleus of Richardson, Wallace, power forward Emeka Okafor and point guard Raymond Felton would get them to the playoffs next season.

The Bobcats, whose $41 million payroll was well under the salary cap last season, still have the money to pay Wallace. Orlando and Milwaukee are also under the cap. Several other teams would have to do a sign-and-trade deal with Charlotte.

• Vince Carter and the New Jersey Nets have the framework in place for a four-year contract that guarantees the All-Star more than $60 million, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

Word of the deal came Sunday, though the person spoke on condition of anonymity because under league rules the agreement can not be announced until July 11, the first day free agents can sign.

• PRO BASEBALL -- Mike Hargrove resigned as manager of the Seattle Mariners, saying his "passion has begun to fade" for baseball even though his team is the hottest club in the majors.

Hargrove, who managed Sunday's game against Toronto, will be succeeded by John McLaren, his bench coach. McLaren's first game will be Monday against Kansas City.

• Yankees reliever Scott Proctor has been struggling to put fires out of late, so he ignited one himself.

Proctor carried his personal game equipment out to the field long after Saturday's 7-0 loss to Oakland and set it ablaze on the gravel outside the New York dugout, leading to tabloid headlines of "Proctor All Fired Up" and "Proctor in shambles, burns glove."

Proctor, who said he couldn't remember if the fire worked when he was struggling in Triple-A, pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings in the Yankees' 11-5 loss to Oakland on Sunday. He got a mixed reaction from the Yankee Stadium crowd when he entered in the eighth inning.

• OLYMPICS -- The U.S. Olympic Committee will take a more aggressive approach with its anti-doping strategy, putting more emphasis on testing athletes in high-risk sports such as track and cycling, increasing unannounced testing and pumping more money into research.

Not satisfied with the progress in the increasingly high-profile fight against doping, the USOC signed a new agreement with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency through 2010 that gives the USOC a more active role in expanding research.

The USOC created USADA as an independent anti-doping agency in 2000 in an attempt to avoid appearances of conflicts of interest. Now, the USOC again plans to call more of the shots, especially with research. It still will depend on USADA for some components but also will look into other sources, including possible corporate support, for financial help.