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Tony tha Mavs fan
09-24-2003, 10:44 PM
BASKETBALL: RAPTORS

The star centre sold his Toronto home last month and hasn't been heard from since last season -- indicators that he wants out

By ROBERT MacLEOD
BASKETBALL REPORTER
Wednesday, September 24, 2003







MARKHAM, ONT. -- The silence exhibited by Antonio Davis has been deafening over the summer, where hardly a week has gone by without the name of the Toronto Raptors' stoic centre being raised as trade bait.

Although he has not been heard from since the Raptors' futile 2002-03 season sputtered to a thankful conclusion last April, the rampant speculation is that Davis is fed up and wants out of Toronto.

Need proof? How about the fact that Davis, a U.S. citizen, upped and sold his Toronto home last month and moved his young family back to Chicago, where his wife is from.

Over the summer, Davis's name was featured prominently in a big three-team National Basketball Association trade between the Raptors, Portland Trail Blazers and New Jersey Nets.

That trade, which never materialized, would have sent Davis and Kenyon Martin of the Nets to Portland with Rasheed Wallace ending up in New Jersey and Dikembe Mutombo, the disgruntled New Jersey centre, winding up in a Raptors uniform.

Through it all, Davis has remained mum, relying on others to do the talking. Yesterday, it was left to Kevin O'Neill, the Raptors' rookie head coach, to try to shed some light on the future of Davis with the team.

Taking time to speak with reporters here from the opulent clubhouse at Angus Glen Golf Club, where several members of the Raptors -- Davis not included -- took part in a charity tournament, O'Neill said he has kept in constant contact with the team's co-captain over the summer.

"We talk about basketball, we don't get into the other things around it," O'Neill said.

"Antonio Davis is a pro. He's been a pro for many years. We all understand the nature of the business. Trades happen sometimes. If they do happen, they happen. But I'm planning on Antonio Davis being here. And if Antonio Davis is here in the right frame of mind, he's going to have a great year."

But does Davis, O'Neill was asked, want to have that great season as a member of the Raptors?

"I'll put it this way," O'Neill said. "Antonio Davis wants to play in the NBA. Do I think he wants to live in Toronto the rest of his life? I don't know that. I have not really asked him at any point: Do you want to be traded? That would be unfair to him.

"Every time we talk, we talk about basketball, the upcoming season and what kind of shape he's in, what kind of team he's expecting us to have. And we've kind of left it at that. If I get into that other stuff it doesn't do me any good."

Last season, Davis, like most everybody else in the lineup, struggled with injuries. He played in 53 of Toronto's 82 regular-season games, averaging 13.9 points and 8.2 rebounds as the Raptors stumbled to a 24-58 record to miss the playoffs.

The year before, Davis was instrumental in hauling the Raptors up on his broad shoulders over the final month of the season where, without the injured Vince Carter in the lineup, they won 12 of their last 14 games to secure a berth in the postseason.

Toronto's first-round opponent that season was the Detroit Pistons, where O'Neill was working at the time as an assistant coach. The Raptors extended the Pistons to the limit before losing in the final game of the best-of-five series.

The Raptors' training camp begins in Toronto on Tuesday and O'Neill said he likes the look of the team with Davis as its starting centre.

"It was only two years ago that Antonio Davis down the stretch carried the team completely into the playoffs," O'Neill said. "And by rights they had a chance to beat us in game five in Detroit because of how well he played. That's the Antonio Davis I'm expecting to see."

Carter, the team star who busied himself winning a gold medal for the United States at an Olympic qualification tournament in Puerto Rico last month, said he has not spoken with Davis since last season concluded.

"I think right now he just needs time to do what he thinks is right for him," Carter said. "I'm not a guy who wants to pressure anybody. But I'll definitely talk to him if he has something to say and he wants to vent or whatever. So be it. I'll be there to listen."

MavsFanatik33
09-24-2003, 10:51 PM
Teams will want this guy, I'm curious to see what kind of offers we'll see in the next few weeks.

jayC
09-25-2003, 09:00 PM
I like Davis hed be a great guy to fill out the starting five but a bit overrated. Id give them Raef and Mills though.

MavsFanatik33
09-25-2003, 10:02 PM
Originally posted by: jayC
I like Davis hed be a great guy to fill out the starting five but a bit overrated. Id give them Raef and Mills though.

Raef for Davis?! He's not worth that at all, not to mention throw Mills in with him.

EricaLubarsky
09-26-2003, 04:36 PM
24-58? Those are rebuilding numbers to me. (just to put that into perspective, they won as many games as Dallas lost in the 2001-2002 season. ) A team like the Raptors shouldn't have problems like that with Davis and Carter. The Raptors really have to make the decision whether they will start rebuilding (like the other half of the NBA) or if they want to turn things around with their team, but something is up. Even with the questions being asked, its my opinion that you will see Davis still in purple and red next year.

JamisonJigga
09-26-2003, 05:26 PM
No way would I want to take on Davis's huge contract. If the Mavs decided to get him, he would be the second highest player on the team. I seriously doubt Davis would help the team much more than Raef would. I say stick with Raef until the trading deadline.