Blazers trade Wallace to Hawks

An NBA bad boy has landed with a bad team.

Rasheed Wallace, temperamental forward for the Portland Trail Blazers, was traded Monday along with shooting guard Wesley Person to the Atlanta Hawks for forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim, fellow frontliner Theo Ratliff and point guard Dan Dickau.

"We are not winning enough games this year," Hawks general manager Billy Knight said. "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."

Trail Blazers president Steve Patterson called it: "A watershed day for the Trail Blazers because, for the last eight years, this team has been associated, basically, with Rasheed and Bonzi as the face of the franchise and it indicates we are moving into a new era."

Wallace is averaging 17.0 points per game, his lowest output since 1999-00, as well as 6.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.6 blocked shots and 37.2 minutes through 45 games.

But the volatile 29-year-old can be a walking powder keg.

Wallace not only set an NBA record with 41 technical fouls three years ago, but was suspended seven games for threatening an official last season.

"You start with a clean slate," Knight said. "You judge people on the way they are with you.

"I'm not going to go on what someone else said."

"As far as the slate goes, there's nothing to wipe away," Hawks head coach Terry Stotts added. "We're getting a very talented player who wants to win."

Wallace has spent all but his rookie NBA campaign with Portland, who acquired Wallace and Mitchell Butler from Washington for Rod Strickland and Harvey Grant on July 15, 1996.

"Sheed was probably one of the most underrated defensive players in this league," Trail Blazers centre Dale Davis said. "And he came to work every day.

"He was a fun guy to be around and a fun guy to play with."

Wallace was selected fourth overall by the Bullets in the 1995 NBA Draft.

The North Carolina product has averaged 16.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.23 blocks and 34.6 minutes in 609 NBA games (551 starts).

Rahim, 27, is averaging 20 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 36.8 minutes in 52 starts this season, his third as a Hawk.

His 285 free throws are third-most in the NBA.

In fact, the transaction was announced mere hours after Abdur-Rahim scored 27 points in a 102-96 upset win over the Dallas Mavericks.

"Shareef is the kind of young man you'd be proud for your daughter to marry," Knight said. "Shareef is such a tough deal because he's such a good guy.

Rahim has averaged 20.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 38.0 minutes in 585 games, including 576 starts, over eight NBA seasons with the Vancouver Grizzlies and Hawks.

Drafted third overall by Vancouver, he was acquired by Atlanta for Lorenzen Wright, Brevin Knight and the draft rights to Pau Gasol on July 19, 2001.

"(Rahim) is everything you want in a player," Knight said. "But I had to put aside my personal feelings and do what's best for the organization.

"I cannot explain enough how tough a trade it was for me, personally, because of Shareef," Knight continued. "He's a class guy and the consummate professional.

"It's just unfortunate that he's got the highest salary on this team and he's the best player on the team. In order to do anything, he's the first guy everybody talked about."

In Ratliff, the Trail Blazers receive the league's leading shot blocker at 3.13 per game.

The 30-year-old centre/forward also averaged 8.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 31.1 minutes in 52 games the Hawks.

Ratliff has averaged 8.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.71 blocks and 27.5 minutes in 526 (397 starts) with the Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers and Hawks since being selected 18th overall in the 1995 NBA Draft.

Dickau played only 22 games for the Hawks this season, averaging 2.1 points on 20-48 shooting in 136 minutes.

Drafted 28th overall out of Gonzaga by the Sacramento Kings in 2002, the sophomore guard was immediately traded to Atlanta in exchange for a first-round draft pick.

"This trade helps the franchise in many ways," Patterson said. "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."

Person, 32, made 33 appearances off the bench for Portland after playing his opening 16 games with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The 11-year NBA veteran has combined to average 6.1 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 18.5 minutes.

Person is a career 45.7 per cent shooter averaging 11.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 29.2 minutes in 683 games (451 starts) since being drafted 23rd overall by Phoenix in 1994.

The Auburn alumnus has played for the Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Grizzlies and Trail Blazers.

with files from Sports Network