PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen said Rasheed Wallace wanted to play elsewhere, and that was the deciding factor in the Blazers’ decision to trade the embattled star.
“We talked about taking the team in different directions and Rasheed wanted to play somewhere else next year, and we (took) all those factors into account,” Allen said in a news conference at halftime of Portland’s game against Utah on Tuesday.
“We got three great guys and two guys who have been All-Stars, so given those parameters I think we came out in a pretty great place.”
Wallace, a 6-foot-11 forward who was in his eighth season in Portland, was dealt Monday along with Wesley Person to Atlanta for Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Theo Ratliff and Dan Dickau.
“Anytime you trade an extremely talented player who is a big part of your success as a franchise, those are difficult decisions,” Allen said.
Allen acknowledged that Wallace’s unpopularity with fans meant that he and the team would have eventually parted ways.
“I think it’s about the expectations that the community and the fans have of the players here in Portland, which I think is at a higher level that other cities in this country,” Allen said.
Wallace gained notoriety during the 2000-01 season, when he compiled an NBA record 41 technical fouls.
Last season, Wallace and teammate Damon Stoudamire were cited in Washington state on marijuana charges while returning from a game in Seattle against the SuperSonics.
His troubles continued when the NBA suspended him for seven games for threatening an official on the loading dock of Portland’s Rose Garden arena after a game.
It was the longest suspension ever imposed by the NBA for something that didn’t involve physical contact or substance abuse.
Player misbehavior on and off the court partly led Allen to release a 25-point code of conduct last summer in an effort to try and win back the community.
PBT: San Antonio found what worked and it’s on the Grizzlies to raise their level enough in Game 2 in San Antonio on Tuesday to get a split in the series.
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