Bickerstaff, Bobcats' staff already strategizing

It's exactly 104 days until Charlotte Bobcats general manager Bernie Bickerstaff gets to do something ... official.

The team already has an office, staff, head coach, scouts, marketers, ticket salespeople and a web site. It even has a bright orange Bobcats logo to get your attention. But nothing in Charlotte really happens until June 22. That's when the Bobcats add the real bricks and mortar of any NBA franchise -- players -- in the upcoming expansion draft.

Two days later, June 24, the Bobcats will make their first-ever lottery selection with the fourth pick in the NBA draft. Exactly one week after the draft, they officially can begin wooing the free-agent class of 2004.

"You get a little stir crazy waiting around," Bickerstaff said. "You've got to be patient and make sure you're prepared."

Bickerstaff has hardly been waiting. He and his staff have been cavorting through the league, college basketball arenas and Europe for six months searching for the right 15 players who will eventually become the Bobcats.