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Old 08-04-2004, 04:02 PM   #1
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Default T-Wolves still looking to upgrade

Blazers mull Abdur-Rahim trade
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Trail Blazers are exploring a trade with Minnesota that would involve Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Wally Szczerbiak.

The Timberwolves would have to include another player for the trade to meet NBA requirements for matching salaries.

Blazers general manager John Nash declined to comment on the trade. He has been exploring trade options involving Abdur-Rahim, who has asked to be traded and has threatened to skip training camp if he is not.

"If I can make a deal that's in the best interest of the team, I'm looking to do something with any player," Nash said Tuesday. "But I haven't had anything that I think would help our team."

Abdur-Rahim will make $14.6 million this season, the last year of his contract. Szczerbiak will make $9 million. NBA rules mandate that the total of the combined player salaries on each team must come within 15 percent.

One scenario involved Trenton Hassell, but he cannot be traded because he signed a free agent offer sheet with the Blazers last week.

"I've heard about the trade talk," said Mark Bartelstein, Hassell's agent. "But I don't listen to any of them involving Trenton, because he can't be traded."

Portland could ask for center Michael Olowokandi, who will make $5.4 million this season and would fill the Blazers' need for a backup frontline player. But knee problems have plagued the 7-foot, 269-pound Olowokandi for the past two seasons. He played 43 games last season, averaging 6.5 points and 5.7 rebounds.

Minnesota could offer Ervin Johnson, a 6-11, 255-pound center who can play power forward. Johnson is appealing because he will earn $4.9 million this season and is in the final year of his contract.

The 6-7, 244-pound Szczerbiak was slowed by plantar faciitis in his left foot, limiting him to 28 regular season games last season. His playing time declined after the Timberwolves signed Latrell Sprewell, and he averaged a career-low 10.2 points and 22.2 minutes.

Acquiring Szczerbiak would address two needs for the Blazers. Szczerbiak, a career 50 percent shooter, would provide the perimeter threat they have been seeking. Szczerbiak is more effective at shooting guard, but he can play small forward, giving the Blazers a backup plan should Darius Miles sign with another team or be included in the trade.

A potential issue is Szczerbiak's contract. He has five years and $55 million remaining on his deal.

I like the deal for both teams. I don't think Abdur Rahim really fits well alongside Randolph while T-Wolves are a bit overloaded at the guard position. The West is really going to be scary next season.

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Old 08-04-2004, 04:03 PM   #2
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Default RE:T-Wolves still looking to upgrade

The Wolves will be scary with Rahim. Then again, isn't he just another Joe Smith? What position will he play in Minny since KG is already their PF? Why can't the Mavs get him instead?
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Old 08-04-2004, 10:36 PM   #3
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Default RE:T-Wolves still looking to upgrade

I'd rather have Ratliff then Rahim. Isn't Rahim just a little taller version of Antwan Jamison. I agree the T-wolves would be good with Shareef and KG as their one-two punch. Don't the T-wolves still have the mle. If they trade either Johnson and Sczerbiak for Shareef then they can sign Dampier.

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