Despite reported discussions of the team exploring sign-and-trade options in past weeks and a lengthy stalemate in discussions, the Bobcats and Gerald Henderson are close to finishing terms that will return the 25-year-old guard to Charlotte, Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
The deal, expected to be signed early next week, will be worth $18 million over 3 years. The third year is a player option, a priority Henderson insisted upon, sources told Yahoo!. The Bobcats originally offered $7 million per year with no option, but Henderson's ended up agreeing to the lower salary in return for the team giving him the option to enter free agency a year sooner.
Both sides seemed to be separated on Henderson's value, resulting in the what seemed to be a deal fated to never come to agreement. The first news to leak was that the team and the four-year veteran were a vast distance apart in negotiations, resulting in the Bobcats searching out possible sign-and-trade partners. Recent reports said the two sides had continued discussions but were still far apart on the issue of compensation. However, there have been zero reports of Henderson signing any offer sheets, so the market demand for Henderson looks like it wouldn't meet his financial desire either.
The Bobcats had not re-signed a first round pick since their first, Emeka Okafor.
Henderson's value is certainly up for debate, so it's no surprise the deal took this long. His long shot has come a long way, but he's still not a very consistent three-point shooter. His offense has made strides in recent years and he's evolved into a multi-faceted offensive threat of decent efficiency. But he's also had more than his fair share of injuries, leading to some to question his durability.
The signing will assuredly shore up the Bobcats' backcourt both on offense and defense with Henderson's versatility. He also brings leadership and experience to the young wings.
With Henderson's return, the Bobcats have seemingly accomplished all of their major goals this offseason: sign a big name frontcourt player, draft a player to help the Bobcats in the post and facing up and re-sign Gerald Henderson. This retains their young core of Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and now Cody Zeller.
Now it's up to Henderson to prove his 19 points per game post-All Star Break last year was not just the infamous 'Contract Year Fluke,' but rather the real deal.