Paul Silas aims to recreate bond between city of Charlotte and its NBA team

Dec 27 2010 - 6:44pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For Paul Silas, replacing Larry Brown as head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats is about more than coaching basketball again.

Silas fondly recalls his days as head coach of the Hornets from 1999 through 2003, especially the seasons before the team moved to New Orleans in 2002. They're what led Silas to settle in the Charlotte area after he was replaced as Cleveland Cavaliers coach in 2005.

Living in Lake Norman, Silas watched the franchise closely, interviewing for the head coaching job in 2007 that went to Sam Vincent. In charge now, Silas wants to re-create the bond that existed between Charlotte and its NBA team years ago.

"I want to see it succeed so badly for the city. Now I'm hoping we can make this city proud of (the Bobcats)," Silas said.

"The fans deserve it. They've supported this team under some trying circumstances. We want to keep that together. It has a great chance to be something special. That's our goal."

INTERIM IS OK: Silas said he's fine with the interim tag attached to his new head coaching job.

He went 22-13 as interim head coach of the Hornets when he replaced Dave Cowens in 1999.

"I've gone through this," Silas said. "If you look back, you can see the number of coaches with the interim tag who were successful. I was one. It doesn't bother me at all.

"Quite frankly, I have enough. This is not life or death with me. I'm doing it because I love what I do. I want to see this team be successful and see this city enjoying basketball again."

Would Silas, now 67, consider coaching a few more years if the opportunity were offered?

"If things work out I would give it a long, hard look," he said.

TUNING IT OUT: Guard D.J. Augustin has been mentioned prominently in trade speculation, including a deal that would send him to the Los Angeles Clippers for Baron Davis.

Silas said Wednesday he wants to get more familiar with the players on the team before suggesting any roster moves, but that doesn't mean the Bobcats aren't exploring their options.

"You can't pay attention," Augustin said. "My name has been in a lot of rumors. I've just got to keep playing."

SIR CHARLES: The first assistant added to Silas' coaching staff was Charles Oakley, the ferocious rebounder who teamed with Bobcats' owner Michael Jordan on the Chicago Bulls.

It's Oakley's first assistant coaching position, but he wasted no time getting comfortable in his new role, helping Silas run the Bobcats through their first workout before the other assistants had been finalized.

"Just to have his toughness around is going to help us a lot," said Stephen Jackson.

That's what Silas has seen in his short time working with Oakley.

"He's tough-minded, a tough guy," Silas said. "(He) really knows his stuff. Granted, he hasn't coached before, but he's into it enough where he understands what should be done. We just need to teach him the X's and O's and how to present it. He'll learn that stuff.

"The way he wants everybody else to be tough, it's great."

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