- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 29, 2002

The Washington Wizards are expected to invite veteran forward Charles Oakley to training camp and give him the opportunity to play his way onto the team under a make-good contract, a league source said.
The addition of the 38-year-old Oakley would provide a much-needed veteran presence in the frontcourt, where Kwame Brown, Brendan Haywood and Etan Thomas are entering their second seasons. Forward Brian Cardinal and center Ratko Varda, who arrived in the Sept.11 trade that brought Jerry Stackhouse from Detroit, figure as the main competition for Oakley, a 17-year veteran. Varda played in one game last season, and Cardinal averaged 2.1 points in eight games.
Though the Wizards could afford to add depth in the frontcourt, they remain in a numbers crunch. The team has 16 players under contract for this season, one over the regular-season limit, and two would have to be moved if Oakley makes the team.
The 6-foot-9 forward played last season with Chicago, returning to the franchise with which he spent the first three years of his career. Well known for his rebounding prowess, Oakley averaged a career-low 6.0 rebounds and 3.8 points in 57 games for the 21-61 Bulls last season. He spent most of his career with New York and new Wizards assistant coach Patrick Ewing after parting with Michael Jordan in Chicago following the 1987-88 season.
Training camp begins Tuesday in Wilmington, N.C. The Wizards play their exhibition opener Oct.10 at MCI Center against Philadelphia.


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