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Bickerstaff won't return as Bobcat coach
By MIKE CRANSTON, AP Sports Writer
Mar 13, 2007 - 2:50:16 PM

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Bernie Bickerstaff will not return as coach of the Charlotte Bobcats next season, but will be invited to stay with the organization.

Charlotte Bobcats head coach Bernie Bickerstaff reacts to an official's call as his team plays the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second half of an NBA basketball game at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, N.C., in this Jan. 1, 2007 file photo. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

Part-owner Michael Jordan said Tuesday that Bickerstaff, who also serves as general manager, is an "integral part" of the franchise. Charlotte is 23-41 and last in the Southeast Division.

"I don't see him distancing himself away," Jordan said. "I feel he's been an important part to getting this franchise to where it is now. It will give me the most pleasure to continue that process until we get to where we have to go."

Bickerstaff, 67-161 in three seasons, said when he was first hired to run the expansion team that he wanted to coach for only two or three years before becoming the full-time general manager. But when Jordan was brought in as a minority owner and given the final say on basketball decisions, Bickerstaff's future was in doubt.

"I want him involved," Jordan said. "We just haven't decided if that's as general manager or president of basketball operations. I see him staying with the organization."

Jordan, in his first meeting with local reporters since June, said he has yet to begin a search for a new coach.

Copyright 2007 - MOP Squad Sports

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