Wednesday September 23rd, 2009

LOS ANGELES -- Free agent guard Raymond Felton has accepted the one-year qualifying offer from the Charlotte Bobcats, Felton's agent, Kevin Bradbury, told By accepting the $5.5 million qualifying offer Felton will become an unrestricted free agent next season.

Negotiations between Felton, who started 81 games and averaged 14.2 points and 6.7 assists last season, and the Bobcats have been at a standstill for more than a month. Though both sides preferred a multiyear contract, they were millions of dollars apart in annual salary and unable to come to an agreement. It is believed that part of the Bobcats reluctance to commit to a lucrative contract with Felton is the presence of D.J. Augustin, a 2008 first-round pick who averaged a season-best 13.3 points in April last season.

Instead Felton, 25, will compete with Augustin for minutes this season and try to cash in as an unrestricted free agent in 2010, when several teams are expected to have significant salary cap space.

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