Nazr Mohammed Expects to Finish Career in Charlotte
He already has a ring. And he's done changing teams.
Mohammed, starting his third season in Charlottte, doesn't sound like a typical guy in his contract year, trying to leverage one team against another to drive up his value.
He sounds like a guy in a Charlotte-or-bust, free-agency mode.
"I definitely want to come back to Charlotte. That's my goal, maybe sign a two-year deal. If that doesn't work out, then I'll have to see. I might just hang it up. This could be my last season. I've given that some serious thought,'' he told FanHouse. "I don't know about playing somewhere else.''
Mohammed, 33, has enough game left that he could help a number of teams who will be looking for a veteran center next summer. Expected to be Charlotte's starter again this season, he looked good Monday night when he clearly outplayed Miami starting center Joel Anthony.
Mohammed had 14 points and four rebounds in 20 minutes, hitting six of his seven shots, looking like he could be a nice fit for a contending team, something the Bobcats are not -- not yet anyway.
Charlotte is the sixth -- and hopefully last -- team in his 12-year career. He also has played in Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, San Antonio and Detroit. He came into the NBA after winning two NCAA championships (1996 and '98) at the University of Kentucky. He won his NBA title in San Antonio (2005).
He helped the Bobcats earn the first playoff berth in franchise history last season, but he has no illusions about their status now. Charlotte must play especially well just to grab one of the last couple playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
"We've got the tools, the people, to win games,'' he said. "We got a taste of the playoffs last season, and our expectations can't be anything less than doing it again. I want to be part of building something in Charlotte that will last.''
It's not the iconic owner of the team (Michael Jordan), or even the Hall of Fame coach (Larry Brown), but the city itself and the family he is raising that makes him hopeful that his career will end in Charlotte.
"I know everyone says this, but my decision (in free agency) isn't going to be based on money,'' he said. "I'm not going to uproot my family just to play another year or two if this team doesn't want me back. My wife likes it in Charlotte. My kids are in school now, and I don't want to go off and leave them just to keep playing. It's not worth it at this stage.''
The Bobcats won a franchise-best 44 games last season. They added Kwame Brown -- the former No. 1 overall pick -- this summer to provide depth at center. And they also are expected to play a smaller lineup at times without a true center.
It's still a team build around perimeter scorers Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace. Mohammed never has averaged more than 10 points or more than 8 rebounds in his career, and he's not expected to do it now in his usual supporting role.
"I'm excited about this season. I feel better physically than I have for a couple years,'' he said. "We'll see what happens this summer. There are lot of variables. If there's work stoppage, and my kids are in school when it ends, I don't think you'll see me going off to play somewhere else. I want to make Charlotte my home. My family has sacrificed for me throughout my career. It might be time for me to sacrifice for them.''