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OutletPass
01-18-2004, 02:39 AM
Saturday, January 17, 2004


By Marc Stein
ESPN.com

The Dallas Mavericks had to settle for a road victory Saturday night. It was not a Winner Gets Wallace night ... largely because of the low-profile billionaire in attendance at Portland's Rose Garden.

Just when it seemed Portland was prepared to make the most anticipated move of the NBA's trading season by dealing Rasheed Wallace away, Blazers owner Paul Allen -- not Dallas counterpart Mark Cuban -- had the biggest influence on Saturday's trade talks between the clubs. Sources close to the negotiations told ESPN.com that, at Allen's insistence, the Trail Blazers suddenly prefer to keep Wallace.

It was just days ago that Portland general manager John Nash was quoted as saying that a Wallace deal before the league's Feb. 19 trading deadline is "likely." Allen was subsequently quoted as saying that he was wrestling with the question of "trade or not to trade" the controversial free agent-to-be. Blazers players have since urged management to either make the swap or stop shopping Wallace, with the team -- looking increasingly paralyzed by the uncertainty -- in the midst of a 1-8 skid that has resulted in Portland's worst start (16-22) since 1976.

Although there is still plenty of time before the deadline for another philosophical shift -- and sweetened offers for Wallace -- it appears that Allen's preference is to give the 'Sheed Era one more shot. The Mavericks, sources said, were informed Saturday evening that Portland will not accept a package of Antawn Jamison and Tariq Abdul-Wahad. Separate sources indicate that the Mavericks are not willing to make a move for Wallace unless Abdul-Wahad is included and are now prepared to move on with their season as the roster stands.

"It sounds like everything with Dallas is dead," one source said. "The owner wants to keep 'Sheed."

John Nash and Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson met before the game. After their meeting, it was announced that Wallace would play for the first time in five games, after sitting out four in a row with what was listed as a sprained left ankle. Wallace scored 24 points, but the Mavericks held on for a 108-104 triumph despite playing without injured point guard Steve Nash & and with Nelson replacing his father, Don, as Mavericks coach after the elder Nelson's BLANK-quarter ejection.

Had Portland been willing to accept an offer of Jamison and Abdul-Wahad for Wallace, it would have run counter to the club's long-running insistence that it will not accept a package of long-term contracts in a Wallace. But with the Blazers' season slipping away -- jeopardizing a run of 21 consecutive playoff appearances that means a great deal to Allen -- sources said Portland's position was softening.

Until Saturday.

Portland, which has made no secret of its attempt to clean up the team's image and reconnect with its famously loyal fan base, is said to be fond of Jamison's character and his potential to pair with Zach Randolph in the Blazers' frontcourt. That's why, according to sources, the Blazers clearly prefer Jamison to Dallas' Antoine Walker, even though Walker's contract expires after the 2004-05 season -- in time for Portland's expected return to the free-agent market in the summer of '05.

Yet it looks as though Jamison's positives and any need for a shakeup won't prompt the Blazers to absorb the contracts of Jamison (who has four seasons left on a six-year deal worth nearly $80 million) and Abdul-Wahad. The Frenchman also has four years left on his contract, although ESPN.com has learned that the final two seasons of Abdul-Wahad's deal are only partially guaranteed: 75 percent of his $7.3 million salary in 2005-06 and 50 percent of his $7.9 million in 2006-07.

Earlier in the week, when apprised that Nash had described a forthcoming Wallace trade as "likely," a skeptical Cuban dismissed that as that as a tactical move by Blazers. "Trolling for trades," Cuban called it.

It remains to be seen if the Blazers will be able to attract better offers than the Dallas pitch over the next month. San Antonio is known to have a strong interest in Wallace, but the Spurs have also been unable to assemble a package to entice Portland. New Jersey had discussed a swap featuring Kenyon Martin for Wallace as far back as last summer. Sources say that Detroit, another club that fancies Wallace, has pulled out of the 'Sheed Sweepstakes until the summer, as the Pistons are unwilling to move any of their core players with no guarantee of re-signing Wallace.

Atlanta's Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Cleveland's Zydrunas Ilgauskas have much friendlier contracts than Jamison's, but there are drawbacks with both as well if Portland chooses to pursue a Wallace deal for either of those players.

Abdur-Rahim, like Jamison, has never played a minute in the playoffs, but the Hawks' forward has also never played on any winning team. Jamison, meanwhile, has enhanced his reputation somewhat by accepting a sixth-man role without complaint in Dallas in an effort to fit in with one of the league's top teams. Ilgauskas' contract, like Abdur-Rahim's, runs through 2005, which appeals to Portland because that's the crucial off-season when the Blazers hope to have sufficient cap room to pursue free agents. Yet there are still concerns about Ilgauskas' long-term health and mobility after years of foot problems, along with serious doubts that conservative Cavaliers owner Gordon Gund would be willing to put Wallace on the same team with LeBron James.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here. Also, click here to send a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.

MikeB
01-18-2004, 02:47 AM
Ok then...keep him. It was an iffy proposition to begin with. As talented as he is I was never convinced that he would fit in or try consistantly. Maybe its time to look elsewhere or try to get the fires stoked for a 3 or 4 way trade that lands us a big man who Nellie will play. I know...wishful thinking.

ReDIRKulous
01-18-2004, 04:02 AM
Those guys up in Portland are morons and SOBs as well.

They have been jerking us around in order to make Rasheed look more valuable to his Portland fans.

I feel really sorry for Portland fans. They are the ones paying the most for all this garbage.

XERXES
01-18-2004, 08:20 AM
That's really something...

I really felt like Portland would be inclined to pull the trigger if they lost last night. I felt like the only way they could buy the current roster more time is if they blew out the Mavs last night...

Goes to show what I know.

kg_veteran
01-18-2004, 09:34 AM
I'm really not all that surprised. The Blazers want to either a) re-sign Rasheed and try again with him or b) cut ties and rebuild around Randolph. As Eddie Sefko indicated to me the other day, 'Why in the world would Portland take on Tariq's contract?"

This makes sense to me. And somehow, even though I was getting excited about the prospect of acquiring Wallace, I feel a strange sense of relief.

MavKikiNYC
01-18-2004, 09:45 AM
Separate sources indicate that the Mavericks are not willing to make a move for Wallace unless Abdul-Wahad is included and are now prepared to move on with their season as the roster stands.

Looks like my $50 is talkin' loud.

Quetzalcoatl
01-18-2004, 10:08 AM
I wouldn't do any Rasheed Wallace trade. He will be a free agent this summer and I don't know if he'll resign with the Mavs.

doggnutz
01-18-2004, 10:47 AM
A trade is coming. Dallas to me seems to still be number one. Rasheed turned down a contract from portland saying he will look elsewhere, when this season is over. Portland is going to want Walker or Jaimson instead of nothing. Wait until Monday morning or afternoon and see what the latest will be.

ddh33
01-18-2004, 12:27 PM
I'm a little skeptical about this whole thing.

First, we aren't talking at all - it's aa just speculation.
Then, we're talking to them.
Then, an offer was made and almost accepted.
Then, the offer wasn't accepted.
But wait, there was never an offer.
Now, Portland wants to keep the guy they've been dying to move - reportedly after he insists that he doesn't want to resign in Portland (if you believe NY papers).

I still get the feelling that this is public positioning. I still wouldn't be surprised if this deal got new life and Walker ended up being the guy who gets thrown into the rumor mill.

Dirkenstien
01-18-2004, 12:33 PM
I think we have offered our offer and we are strong on staying put to it no matter how much portland tries to up the value of Wallace.

I am proud of this and feel there arent any other teams that can offer a decent package for Sheed, meaning we will be their bandaid trade come the trade deadline.

I am relieved for the time being but we'll wait and see what comes out of this as the trade deadline nears.

MightyToine
01-18-2004, 01:58 PM
Originally posted by: ddh33
I'm a little skeptical about this whole thing.

First, we aren't talking at all - it's aa just speculation.
Then, we're talking to them.
Then, an offer was made and almost accepted.
Then, the offer wasn't accepted.
But wait, there was never an offer.
Now, Portland wants to keep the guy they've been dying to move - reportedly after he insists that he doesn't want to resign in Portland (if you believe NY papers).

I still get the feelling that this is public positioning. I still wouldn't be surprised if this deal got new life and Walker ended up being the guy who gets thrown into the rumor mill.

And why would that happen, ddh33?

Maybe if Walker reverted back to his Celtic-play and caused trouble in the lockerroom, then perhaps the mavs would consider dealing him....But he hasn't. And he has started to accept his role on this team and as long as he does that, there is absolutely ZERO reason to trade him away and I think Cuban and Donnie know that.

I, personally, wouldn't be at all surprised if Donnie was actually *gasp* telling the truth when he said the deal is dead. i/expressions/face-icon-small-shocked.gif

Let's move on, shall we?

LRB
01-18-2004, 04:41 PM
Originally posted by: ddh33
I'm a little skeptical about this whole thing.

First, we aren't talking at all - it's aa just speculation.
Then, we're talking to them.
Then, an offer was made and almost accepted.
Then, the offer wasn't accepted.
But wait, there was never an offer.
Now, Portland wants to keep the guy they've been dying to move - reportedly after he insists that he doesn't want to resign in Portland (if you believe NY papers).

I still get the feelling that this is public positioning. I still wouldn't be surprised if this deal got new life and Walker ended up being the guy who gets thrown into the rumor mill.

It does sound like public positioning to me as well. And I definitely think that Walker would be a better overall fit than Jamison for Portland. What Portland really needs is a small forward to replace Scottie Pippen. Walker is about as close as there is to getting a Pippen.

MightyToine
01-18-2004, 08:49 PM
Originally posted by: LRB

Originally posted by: ddh33
I'm a little skeptical about this whole thing.

First, we aren't talking at all - it's aa just speculation.
Then, we're talking to them.
Then, an offer was made and almost accepted.
Then, the offer wasn't accepted.
But wait, there was never an offer.
Now, Portland wants to keep the guy they've been dying to move - reportedly after he insists that he doesn't want to resign in Portland (if you believe NY papers).

I still get the feelling that this is public positioning. I still wouldn't be surprised if this deal got new life and Walker ended up being the guy who gets thrown into the rumor mill.

It does sound like public positioning to me as well. And I definitely think that Walker would be a better overall fit than Jamison for Portland. What Portland really needs is a small forward to replace Scottie Pippen. Walker is about as close as there is to getting a Pippen.


But Walker isn't a Small Forward, LRB. He's a Power-Forward and a Point-Forward. Does Portland need another wannabe PG on their team?? And Walker can't defend against most of the opponent's small Forwards....especially in the west.

Zach Randolph is the PF therefore Walker would not be of much use to Portland....

Jamison is more attractive but that deal is dead now...

OutletPass
01-18-2004, 08:58 PM
This continued Sheed talk is nauseating....

http://www.istoleyour.com/selfportraitpuking.jpg

Nash13
01-18-2004, 09:20 PM
LRB and ddh, i don't believe this trade is dead. Neither one of the teams involved just flat out said "no." Also, there's no article that was made about either teams declining the trade, it was just mentioned. They might be putting on a front so other teams won't try to block it.

If Dallas is going to do a trade, then they shouldn't limit themselves just to talk to Portland, especially if we don't get a legit Center from them.

MightyToine
01-18-2004, 09:36 PM
Whatever happened to that Travis Best for Melvin Ely trade rumor?

(although at this point, I'd like to keep Best now that he's starting to do the job as the Backup Point)

Dirkenstien
01-18-2004, 10:08 PM
Originally posted by: MightyToine
Whatever happened to that Travis Best for Melvin Ely trade rumor?

(although at this point, I'd like to keep Best now that he's starting to do the job as the Backup Point)

im not sure what happened to it..however i agree that I am pleased with how much Best has come around.

LRB
01-19-2004, 02:13 AM
Originally posted by: MightyToine



But Walker isn't a Small Forward, LRB. He's a Power-Forward and a Point-Forward. Does Portland need another wannabe PG on their team?? And Walker can't defend against most of the opponent's small Forwards....especially in the west.

Zach Randolph is the PF therefore Walker would not be of much use to Portland....

Jamison is more attractive but that deal is dead now...


Walker is actually a tweener. However offensively he can play the SF just fine except for the fact he can't shoot a lick. But Portland wants a great passer who can play point forward. Walker can do that. Defensively he's a little slow to play SF, but he's a little small and not athletic enough for PF. A classic tweener. Still he's a much better fit for Portland, and I think it works better for Dallas as well.

madape
01-19-2004, 08:32 AM
c'est la vie. No Rasheed this year. I guess we'll live.

MightyToine
01-19-2004, 03:15 PM
Originally posted by: madape
c'est la vie. No Rasheed this year. I guess we'll live.

yeah baby yeah!! [Austin Powers voice]