By Mike Cranston, AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Charlotte Bobcats added an assistant coach for next season on Tuesday amid concerns Charles Oakley won’t be able to return to the bench because of health issues.
Coach Paul Silas announced former Golden State assistant Rob Werdann will join his staff. The former St. John’s big man who played briefly in the NBA has also been an assistant in New Orleans.
“I was told they were going to add a coach and I jumped at the chance,” Werdann said.
Oakley missed the final 13 games last season with a back problem he claims was caused when he was assaulted at a Las Vegas resort in May 2010. Oakley has sued the resort and said earlier this month he’s contemplating surgery.
Silas says he still hopes Oakley returns, but needed to make sure he had at least three assistants next season.
“If he was here now, we probably wouldn’t have been looking at anyone else,” Silas said of Oakley. “But since he’s going to have an operation soon and that kind of thing, we had to bring somebody else in.”
Oakley, considered one of the NBA’s all-time tough guys during his 18-year playing career, attended some pre-draft workouts as he visits specialists looking to correct a sciatic nerve problem.
Oakley was absent and Werdann was on the job Tuesday as the Bobcats held a camp for veteran free agents that included Jawad Williams, DeMarre Carroll and Garrett Temple. The Bobcats are also scrambling to get rookie draft picks Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker in for workouts before the possible lockout begins Friday.
Silas said he was also able to talk with Corey Maggette on Monday and told the newly acquired veteran he’ll start at small forward. Maggette was acquired from Milwaukee last week in a trade that sent Bobcats top scorer Stephen Jackson to the Bucks.
“I expect a lot of good things from him,” Silas said of Maggette. “He scored 22 points a game for the Clippers one season. He’s gone down from there, but has been on the bench a lot and playing (the power forward) spot.”
Maggette averaged 12 points for Milwaukee in 67 games last season following an ankle injury that sidelined him early.
“I just think it was a thing there where he thought he was out of position,” Silas said of his struggles with the Bucks. “He wasn’t starting and that’s very important to him. He’s replacing a starter and I want to play him at his natural position.”
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.