As if dealing with talks of relocation weren't enough, along came a flurry of trades that left many Sonics more confused about the team's...
PORTLAND — As if dealing with talks of relocation weren’t enough, along came a flurry of trades that left many Sonics more confused about the team’s future.
“It’s tough,” forward Chris Wilcox said Thursday at the Rose Garden. “It’s difficult because you’re sitting in a situation where you’re thinking the players you’ve got now are going to be here for the rest of the year, but it’s not. At the same time, it’s better for those guys that they get the opportunity to go somewhere they can play and hopefully go to the playoffs.
“That [the playoffs] is a situation I’m hoping to get into, and I hope the Sonics do the right thing in trying to get players in here to get us to playoff level. I definitely don’t know which direction we’re trying to go in now or what’s what. I just hope, like I said, they do the right thing and try to improve this team.”
In the span of two days, Sonics general manager Sam Presti sent three players (Kurt Thomas, Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West) to playoff-bound teams, pushed his draft-pick total to 13 (six first-rounders) over the next three years, acquired five players and waived one in Brent Barry.
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Barry, who’s dealing with a left-calf injury, becomes an unrestricted free agent eligible to sign with any team.
Seattle’s moves were part of a rush to the trade deadline that included Phoenix getting Shaquille O’Neal, Dallas landing Jason Kidd and Pau Gasol going to the Los Angeles Lakers.
“It’s kind of crazy. It’s almost like a snowball effect with the Shaq trade forcing other teams to do something,” Sonics forward Nick Collison said. “It’s definitely been an interesting trade deadline.
“You never know for sure, but there could be more changes. It’s been that way since the summer started. All you can control is how you play and the better you play, the better situation you’ll put yourself in no matter where it is.”
While rookie forward Jeff Green reflected back to his own draft-day trade to deal with the Sonics’ changes, fellow rookie Kevin Durant said he was surprised when he received word of the trades.
“It was a shock to me; I didn’t know anybody was going to be traded,” Durant said. “To be around a person for five, six months and then for them to leave like that is hard to deal with.
“This is a big business. I can’t question what the guys did up in the front office. They’re trying to do their best to make us a great team in the long run. I don’t know why they got traded. I wish Delonte, Kurt and Wally the best because they helped me out a lot since I’ve been here.”
Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo said his “menu” doesn’t change in that he’s going to use the final 29 games to evaluate the younger parts of his roster. For instance, center Johan Petro made his first start of the season Thursday.
Carlesimo is already pretty familiar with the new pieces, anyway. He coached Francisco Elson while with San Antonio, was Donyell Marshall’s coach at Golden State and Adrian Griffin’s coach at Seton Hall. Veteran guard Ira Newble is the final addition.
“We’ve still got the core group that I think is going to be here going forward,” Carlesimo said. “That’s the important thing. Sam has done a real good job giving us more flexibility both with the draft and financially at the end of the year. The plan has always been to identify the pieces that are going to be here for a while, play those guys and let them grow together.”
• Sonics C Robert Swift left in the second quarter due to a right knee sprain and will be re-evaluated today.
Percentages: FG .388, FT .645. Three-point goals: 6-13, .462 (Ridnour 3-4, Durant 2-2, Watson 1-1, Gelabale 0-1, Green 0-1, Wilkins 0-4). Team rebounds: 11. Team turnovers: 15 (12 PTS). Blocked shots: 3 (Collison, Gelabale, Wilkins). Turnovers: 15 (Watson 5, Durant 4, Collison 2, Green, Ridnour, Swift, Wilkins). Steals: 2 (Durant, Petro). Technical fouls: Defensive three second, 11:00 fourth.
Percentages: FG .382, FT .692. Three-point goals: 7-19, .368 (Jack 2-4, Blake 2-5, Outlaw 1-3, Roy 1-3, Webster 1-4). Team rebounds: 8. Team turnovers: 11 (8 PTS). Blocked shots: 11 (Aldridge 5, Przybilla 4, Outlaw, Roy). Turnovers: 8 (Blake 2, Aldridge, Jack, Outlaw, Przybilla, Rodriguez, Roy). Steals: 10 (Jack 4, Roy 3, Webster 2, Blake). Technical fouls: Defensive three second, 11:26 fourth.
|Seattle||25||16||26||21 — 88|
|Portland||23||28||19||22 — 92|
Attendance: 20,168 (19,980). Time: 2:39. Officials: Dan Crawford, Eric Lewis, Derek Richardson.