Like most NBA players, Derrick Brown's career decisions tend to revolve around numbers.
Unlike the typical NBA player, the key number in where he'd play this season wasn't preceded by a "$." Brown was concerned about minutes, about laying the base for a sustainable career, and that led him back to the Charlotte Bobcats.
Brown signed a one-year, minimum contract Saturday, rejoining the Bobcats. He was their second-round choice and played in Charlotte his first 1 1/2 seasons. The Bobcats waived him at the trade deadline to facilitate a deal and hoped he'd clear waivers so they could re-sign him. Instead he was claimed by the New York Knicks and he became a restricted free agent over the summer.
When the Knicks rescinded Brown's qualifying offer to pursue center Tyson Chandler, Brown turned to the Bobcats. He had a comfort level here between coach Paul Silas and shooting guard Gerald Henderson, one of Brown's close friends. But mostly it was about the prospect of steady minutes.
During a 10-minute interview following Saturday's practice, Brown used the word "opportunity" five times. He's been made no promises about playing time, but the Bobcats' situation should get him on the court.
"At the end of the day, everyone in this has that competitive nature. I haven't had that extreme opportunity," Brown said. "I'd rather have an opportunity - take less money and play - than some other things. You have to grow. I need that opportunity to grow."
A 6-foot-7 forward, Brown was a bit player both here and in New York. There are no guarantees, but it sure sounded Friday night like coach Paul Silas will give him every chance to be Corey Maggette's backup at small forward. There are no other true small forwards on the roster, particularly with restricted free agent Dante Cunningham unsigned.
Maggette figures to play a lot of minutes, but he's a decade into his NBA career, so certainly there's a chance for a young player like Brown to show what he can do.
CBA review: The Bobcats and owner Michael Jordan had a big stake in how this new collective bargaining agreement would treat small-market franchises.
Jordan hasn't been at training camp yet, but the team's vice chairman, Curtis Polk (Jordan's longtime financial advisor), offered a review of the CBA on Saturday.
"I would say it's improved the situation quite a bit," Polk told the Observer. "It's not perfect, but it's improved the playing field to make us more competitive."
Asked for specifics on how the new deal is better than the old one, Polk said, "The combination of the new revenue-sharing (between large and small markets) with the reduction in (salary-cap) exceptions. - in particular, how tax-paying teams can use them. That's going to make for more competitive balance.
"Things like shorter contracts will make for more flexibility.''
The new CBA shortens the maximum numbers of years a player can sign for, regardless of whether he's re-signing with his own team or changing teams. That reduces some of the risk of long-term guarantees and might place some players back on the open market closer to their prime.
Notes: The Bobcats still haven't practiced either of two lottery picks, Kemba Walker or Bismack Biyombo. Biyombo is still resolving his contract situation with a Spanish team and might not be free before the verdict of a trial that starts Dec. 19 overseas. Walker's rookie contract still hadn't been finalized Saturday in time for him to practice.
With Walker unable to practice, forward Boris Diaw has been playing defacto point guard against D.J. Augustin. It's probably good for both of them - Diaw gets a great run and Augustin gets extra experience against bigger ballhandlers, which he faces frequently in the regular season.
Today is the first day NBA teams can run two-a-day practices, and each team is limited to six such days in the preseason. Since the Bobcats still haven't filled out their roster, they'll hold a single practice today to conserve one of those six double-session days.