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Evilmav2
03-28-2004, 02:09 PM
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Boobirds sending Webber to brink
Those close to the Kings forward say he might ask for a trade if fans don't stop jeering him at games.

By Scott Howard-Cooper -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 a.m. PST Sunday, March 28, 2004


Chris Webber, while publicly downplaying the impact of being booed by Kings fans, is privately so hurt by the response, it could push the power forward to ask for a trade after the season if the negative reactions continue.
Webber will not comment on the potential implications of the harsh treatment he received twice in the six home games since he returned from a serious knee injury and an NBA package suspension, saying he wants to avoid distractions and stay focused on the final push of the regular season, then the playoffs. It's known, however, that the team co-captain and five-time All-Star is bothered more than he's letting on, to the point of uncertainty about his future in Sacramento.

Webber has already hinted that the early feedback is also creating a chasm on his side, telling a group of reporters after the latest incident that "it definitely changes my focus, my outlook." It was left at that.

Pressed later, Webber wouldn't expand on his comment. He did acknowledge, when asked about the responses to his occasional early struggles, that "I'm very disappointed. And I'm shocked."
Because he feels betrayed by the same fans that once strongly backed him?

"I feel more disappointed," Webber said. "It actually hurts. It's more than betrayed."

It's also deeper. People close to Webber said he has already vented to some friends and family members, complete with the bottom line that he has no desire to play the rest of his career against the backdrop of an ever-shifting love-hate Arco Arena association. That would become too draining and a great distraction.

So far, there have been no conversations with management about Webber's future, sources have confirmed, and it wouldn't matter anyway. The trade deadline passed Feb. 19.

But people close to Webber caution he could be pushed away, or at least moved to ask for a trade, if the relationship with fans remains in the same state of tension that has developed this month. The option is prominent enough, insiders note, that Webber has already considered addressing the issue with Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof or president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie in the summer.

What happens from there is impossible to gauge, it being months away from happening and maybe not at all, and even then depending on how the playoffs finish and the health of Webber's left knee. Also, the biggest unknown is what will happen the rest of the season between Webber and the same fans who once serenaded him at a home game to rejoin the Kings as a free agent and then packed a downtown plaza to celebrate with him when he did sign.

Straining the union are the expectations of a contract worth $122.7 million over seven seasons, a series of Webber injuries and playoff letdowns, and the league's eight-game suspension in February for violating the anti-drug policy and pleading guilty to one count of criminal contempt of court. When Webber finally returned to action March 2, after missing the first 58 games, it was to overwhelming cheers at Arco, and he responded with three impressive outings.

The next home game, March 9, Webber missed 19 of 21 shots and was booed. He entered the March 21 Houston game averaging 18.7 points, nine rebounds and 4.5 assists, solid numbers for anyone and very encouraging for a player coming off a serious knee injury. But that night, he was booed again while making just 4 of 18 attempts.

Webber could have handled a negative response in the first game, if fans had voiced their displeasure at his off-court decisions that led to the suspension. It never came.

He could have dealt with the pressure and expectations - he has done that since high school and even stared down one legendary mistake, when Webber called a timeout Michigan didn't have in the NCAA championship game, by naming his charitable group the Timeout foundation.

What hit Webber was fans turning on him so quickly while coming back from a major injury, not to mention while playing well on the whole. In the three appearances before the March 9 debacle against Golden State, he had averaged 24 points and nine rebounds and shot 50.9 percent. Two days before facing the Rockets, he contributed 24 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists as the Kings beat the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers on the road.

In all, Webber is at 18.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game while down to 41.3 percent shooting from the field. That accuracy rating is the only statistic taking a major hit during Webber's search to regain his timing, but he's also taking the same shots that had resulted in his being named All-NBA (first-, second-or third-team) five straight times. His defense is a much bigger problem, with Webber clearly not fluid moving on the left leg, but opponents were running layup lines on the Kings long before he returned.

The specter of his uncertain future comes, curiously, at the very time Webber has never felt more part of Sacramento. He's planning an addition to his Granite Bay home, feels a special bond with a close locker room, and is considering switching his official residence from Michigan, his home state, to California. He even talks about living here, at least part time, after retiring, from whatever team with which he finishes his career.

MavsFanatik33
03-28-2004, 02:21 PM
It'd be great for the rest of the league if Webber left Sacramento; that is unless he became a Laker, Spur, or T'Wolves.....

ddh33
03-28-2004, 03:46 PM
If this relationship continues to deteriorate, then I could see Webber getting traded. But he won't be coming here, and probably wouldn't be anywhere out West. It's more likely he would be sent somewhere East.

ddh33
03-28-2004, 03:47 PM
Worse news:

This could lower Walker's value. Now, he may be nothing more than a big expiring contract.

Because if you're looking for a good PF, who would you rather have? Walker or Webber?

rakesh.s
03-28-2004, 04:29 PM
Originally posted by: ddh33
Worse news:

This could lower Walker's value. Now, he may be nothing more than a big expiring contract.

Because if you're looking for a good PF, who would you rather have? Walker or Webber?

webber for just standing in the post and passing and hitting the jumper from the elbow on a consistent basis

but unfortunately i think we can stick a fork in it because webber's superstar days are over..as usual, when you get opened up for surgeries, you may never be the same player and i think that's showing in webber's case

MightyToine
03-28-2004, 07:44 PM
Originally posted by: rakesh.s

Originally posted by: ddh33
Worse news:

This could lower Walker's value. Now, he may be nothing more than a big expiring contract.

Because if you're looking for a good PF, who would you rather have? Walker or Webber?

webber for just standing in the post and passing and hitting the jumper from the elbow on a consistent basis

but unfortunately i think we can stick a fork in it because webber's superstar days are over..as usual, when you get opened up for surgeries, you may never be the same player and i think that's showing in webber's case

Maybe if Walker had "surgery" on his shooting hands(both of them), he wouldn't SHOOT anymore and just grab rebounds and pass...... i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif

Fidel
03-29-2004, 02:24 AM
Good luck finding a taker for that whiny SOB and his 127 mil $ contract. Oh yeah and heīs old and injury prone too.

Even if they do shop him thatīll have no impact at all at Walkers trade value. Walker is just walking cap relief, with a freeshot at getting a productive player maybe.

mavsfanforever
03-29-2004, 07:17 AM
Walker's value will remain the same no matter what. Walker's value is his expiring contract and nothing else and that should not be effected regardless of whether webber gets traded or not. I do not see many teams being takers of his huge contract. He has missed more games than he played last two seasons. he is not very young.

Drbio
03-29-2004, 08:39 AM
She-web is a puss.

MavKikiNYC
03-29-2004, 11:15 AM
She-Webb squeals like a pig.