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abound of players being unhappy with his
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It doesnt matter to Al Jefferson that the Charlotte Bobcats are a small market team that has struggled to find success in recent years. What matters to Jefferson is the Bobcats made him feel wanted. The 6-foot-10 centre said he was blown away after meeting with team officials last week during a free agent visit, saying he "couldnt sleep a wink" in anticipation of signing with Charlotte. "I cant express how happy I am to be here," said Jefferson, who was introduced at a press conference on Wednesday. "The Charlotte Bobcats did a great job coming at me (in free agency) and made me feel like they were a team that really respected my game and made me feel like a part of the family." The Bobcats also announced they signed first-round draft pick Cody Zeller and waived forward Tyrus Thomas, designating him their amnesty player. By waiving Thomas, the Bobcats will save $18.1 million in salary cap space over the next two seasons. Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins also said he was scheduled to talk Wednesday with the agent for restricted free agent guard Gerald Henderson in hopes of ensuring his return next season. Higgins said Jefferson gives the Bobcats a low-post scoring presence they havent had in recent years. Charlotte ranked 24th in the league in points scored in the paint last season. The 28-year-old Jefferson is a back-to-the-basket type of scorer who led all NBA centres last season in field goals, ranked second in scoring average and ranked fourth in defensive rebounds. Jefferson and Dwight Howard are the only centres in the league to average at least 17 points and nine rebounds in each of the last six seasons. Jefferson said he is comfortable in a small market like Charlotte after growing up in the tiny Mississippi town of Prentiss. "My whole town is not bigger than this room," Jefferson said with a laugh." And if they had an NBA town in Prentiss I would go there. I dont think about the city. All of that other stuff doesnt matter to me. I figure when a team wants you to come play in the NBA, do it." Jefferson said the Bobcats, who are 28-120 over the past two seasons, have more talent than most people realize. He said he cant wait to "pick the brain" of Bobcats associate head coach Patrick Ewing, a Hall of Fame centre who played for the New York Knicks. Jefferson said he began thinking about playing for Charlotte after he bumped into Bobcats point guard Kemba Walker two months ago in New York. Walker joked with him at the time that theyd be teammates soon. It turns out Walker wasnt kidding. "About two weeks after that my agent asked me if I wanted to go down to Charlotte for visit and I was like, Sure," Jefferson said. "When I got here they won me over. They have been studying my game and showed me how my game will fit into their system. ... They wanted me here and it was just a no-brainer." Walker is equally ecstatic. "Was I excited? I almost shed a tear," Walker said. "Thats what we need: A guy we always can go to to get a bucket." Jefferson said Charlotte was his only visit, although Dallas and New Orleans also expressed interest in signing him. Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said Jefferson gives the Bobcats a proven veteran who can mentor young big men Bismack Biyombo and Zeller and take pressure off the teams shooting guards. "The toughest thing to do is execute in the half-court offence, but when you have a guy like Al it makes it a lot easier," Clifford said. The one knock on Jefferson over the years has been his defence, particularly in the pick and roll. But Clifford doesnt see it as a liability. "If you watch him I dont think hes nearly as bad as people are saying at all," Clifford said. "His defensive rebounding numbers are pretty good and its not like hes immobile. There are challenges with everybody, but its not like Im watching him on film and saying he cant do it." Jefferson, a nine-year NBA veteran, led the Utah Jazz in scoring in each of the last three seasons, averaging 18.5 points per game. He also averaged 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.6 blocks while playing in 221 of 230 possible games. Despite those numbers, he entered free agency knowing he probably wouldnt be returning to Salt Lake City. "We came to an understanding that they wanted to go with their young bigs and that makes a lot of sense," Jefferson said, referring to the Jazzs young frontcourt duo of Enes Kanter and Derrick Favours. "I think both of them will be superstars in this league. So I couldnt be mad at that." Brad Boxberger Jersey . Hargreaves began his career in 2008 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and has played with the Edmonton Eskimos and last season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. 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The confrontational style of Brisbane captain Tom Rockliff might not be to everyones tastes, but Dayne Zorko is confident its the best way to lead the underperforming Lions.It remains unclear whether Rockliff will remain Lions captain or even stay at the AFL club in 2017.Rumours abound of players being unhappy with his leadership style with question marks over his commitment and fitness.But Zorko, who claimed a second successive Merrett-Murray medal as the Lions best player, says Rockliff is a fantastic leader.He certainly likes to hit players between the eyes, that era might have gone a little bit but I think its definitely the right thing for our football club at the moment, Zorko told Melbourne radio station SEN.We need to start performing and we werent.Its a little bit strange to hear how much has come out abouut it all because, for mine, hes the right person for us going forward.dddddddddddd.Zorko said he was disappointed by the decision to sack coach Justin Leppitsch, insisting the players needed to shoulder more blame for the clubs woes.The Lions won three matches this year and only avoided the wooden spoon on percentage to Essendon.The club are expected to ask the AFL for a priority pick at this years draft.But Zorko doesnt believe that step is vital to the success of the Lions, saying theres already plenty of young talent within the ranks at the club.If its developed and developed the right way, I dont think thatd be necessary, he said.If the AFL wants to give us one, yep (well take it). 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