18th June 14:50
Sheed On the Block?
c'mon glen work some magic...
Blazers mull Wallace deal
The Trail Blazers appear to be shopping around Rasheed Wallace, and they
have considered a deal that would send the volatile forward and Ruben
Patterson to the New Jersey Nets for Dikembe Mutombo and Kenyon Martin.
"There have been some discussions, but there is not a trade on the table at
this moment," coach Maurice Cheeks said Friday.
The Blazers apparently are hesitant to make the trade because general
manager John Nash does not want to inherit Mutombo's salary, which is $17.9
million this season and $19.7 million next season. It appears that the teams
are talking about different scenarios, one of which might include Arvydas
Sabonis instead of Patterson.
Nash, who was the Nets' general manager from 1996-2001, was noncommittal
Friday when asked about the trade.
"I'm not at liberty to discuss that," Nash said. "As a general policy, I
won't confirm or deny that we are involved in a trade."
Nets president Rod Thorn was traveling to West Virginia for his son's
wedding and could not be reached for comment.
Although Cheeks said he wants to keep Wallace, who has led the Blazers in
scoring the past four seasons, he said the team has continually looked to
trade him this summer.
"There have been a lot of things going on about Rasheed," Cheeks said. "And
not just about Rasheed, a lot of other players, too. And there have been
some deals on the table."
Wallace is in the final year of his contract, which will pay him $17
million. Although he has been the Blazers' best player the past four years,
he also has come to symbolize the attitude and temperament of the troubled
team, an image the new management is attempting to change.
Wallace led the NBA in technical fouls from 1999-2002, setting a record with
41 in -2000-01, and he has been suspended for 11 games during the past three
seasons for incidents ranging from attacking a referee to throwing a towel
at a referee to throwing a towel at a teammate. He was cited for marijuana
possession last season.
"I know Rasheed has not been the best soldier," Cheeks said. "But I think he
is trying to change. Right now, he is working out in Las Vegas, and for
Rasheed to be doing that at this time of the year is a very positive sign."
Cheeks remained neutral, however, when asked whether he would support a
trade that included Wallace.
"Rasheed is an important part of our team, and I'd like to keep Rasheed. But
I also think we have to stay open about any deals that come about," Cheeks
said. "Management has a difficult job to do. People want change, for us to
go a different route."
As general manager of the Nets, Nash picked Martin with the No. 1 selection
in the 2000 draft. The 6-foot-9 power forward averaged 16.7 points and 8.3
rebounds last season, but like Wallace he has received suspensions for his
conduct, primarily flagrant fouls.
Mutombo is a 12-year NBA veteran who was injured much of last season,
limiting him to 24 games, in which he averaged 5.8 points and 6.4 rebounds
in 21.4 minutes. A 7-2, 265-pound center, Mutombo is considered a defensive
specialist, and he is the only player in NBA history to win the league's
Defensive Player of the Year award four times (2001, 1998, 1997, 1995). He
also received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2001.
Cheeks would not say whether he would endorse a Wallace and Patterson for
Mutombo and Martin trade.
"My job is to work with what I have," he said. "But I think we are keeping
our eyes and ears open."
Sabonis is expected in Portland next week to receive a physical examination
from the Blazers. The team and Sabonis have until Friday to determine
whether his $7 million contract will be guaranteed