Trail Blazers Trade Wallace to Hawks

From Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers traded volatile forward Rasheed Wallace and reserve guard Wesley Person to the Atlanta Hawks late Monday night for forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim and two other players.

In Wallace, Atlanta gets an often-troubled player who's averaging 17 points and 6.6 rebounds.

Wallace drew the ire of NBA Commissioner David Stern this season when he told the Oregonian newspaper that the league's white establishment is exploiting young black athletes to enrich itself.

Wallace later issued an apology.

Last season, he was suspended by the league for seven games for threatening a referee on the loading dock at the Rose Garden in Portland after a game. It was the longest suspension handed down that did not involve physical contact or substance abuse.

In the 2000-01 season, he set the NBA record with 41 technical fouls.

"What you do in this situation is very clear, you start with a clean slate," Hawk General Manager Billy Knight said. "You judge people on the way they are with you. I'm not going to go on what someone else said."

Abdur-Rahim, 27, is averaging about 20 points this season. He goes to the Trail Blazers with center Theo Ratliff, 30, and little-used point guard Dan Dickau, 25, a first-round pick of the Sacramento Kings in 2002, traded to the Hawks on draft day.

"This trade helps the franchise in many ways," said Steve Patterson, Trail Blazer president. "We get a younger core of players and can remain competitive in both the Western Conference and the league.

"Another factor in the deal is that we are also acquiring three players of good character."

The contracts for Wallace, 29, and Person, 32, end after this season, potentially clearing salary cap room for the Hawks.

"We are not winning enough games this year," said Knight of the 18-35 Hawks. "What this does is accelerate the process of rebuilding. This was a deal that gets us financially healthy and makes us a player in the free-agent market."

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Toronto Raptor guard Jalen Rose broke a bone in his left hand in Sunday's victory over Golden State and will consult with a hand specialist before it is known how long he will be sidelined, the team said.

In other news, an arbitrator ruled the Raptors must pay center Nate Huffman the $2.56 million he is owed on a contract they terminated after saying he didn't tell them about a history of knee problems.

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Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban would like his players to make a choice -- either make millions playing for him or go to the Olympics.

"I prefer that, if you have a contract, you make a choice," said Cuban, who traded barbs on the issue recently with Detroit Piston and U.S. Olympic Coach Larry Brown. "We all make choices. If it's that important to me to play for my country, I'm not going to sign my contract.

"I want that leeway to play for my country, understanding the risks involved. Notice, you don't see players who are not under contract playing for their national teams."

Brown also reiterated his claim that having NBA players in the Olympics broadens the game worldwide.

"That's why we've got Asians and South Americans and African kids and European kids playing in our league," he said. "Most of the owners that have issues have benefited by that, so has the NBA."

Cuban, however, disagreed.

"He's entitled to his opinion. It's really easy to spend other people's money," Cuban said of Brown. "And honestly, I don't think Larry fully understands. He understands from a USA perspective."

Five of Dallas' players compete for national teams other than the U.S., including starters Steve Nash (Canada) and Dirk Nowitzki (Germany).

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Orlando Magic center Andrew DeClercq will undergo surgery Tuesday to remove torn cartilage in his right knee and is expected to miss at least two weeks.

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