Clyde Drexler says he went public with his request to leave the Portland Trail Blazers because management hadn’t followed through on its promise to trade him.
“I’m trying to force their hand,” he said Thursday by telephone from Boston, where the Blazers play tonight. “That’s what this is all about, because I don’t like being mistreated.”
The Trail Blazers’ alltime leader in 10 categories, including points, assists, steals and rebounds, went to Bob Whitsitt, the team’s new president, before the season to ask to be traded.
His decision was triggered, he said, by the Blazers’ talks with Miami about a deal that would send him to the Heat for Harold Miner. Drexler said nobody from the Portland organization told him about the talks.
“If a team is willing to do that with you after all these years of service, then that team obviously has no respect for what you’ve done or what you can do,” Drexler said.
Recently, there had been more reports that the Blazers were trying to trade him.
“I couldn’t keep quiet any longer. People kept asking me ‘After all the great years you’ve given the Blazers, why do they keep trying to trade you?”’ Drexler said. “I just told them it’s a mutual thing. I’d like to get out of there.”
Whitsitt was not in his office Thursday and did not return phone calls. But he did issue a statement about Drexler.
“I have had numerous discussions with him regarding his personal desires and his future,” Whitsitt said. “The discussions have been ongoing and will remain behind closed doors.”
It’s not news that Drexler was unhappy and would accept a trade. Not only was he upset with the Miami situation, he didn’t like the firing of coach Rick Adelman, the departure of senior vice president Geoff Petrie and the dismissal of several others within the organization.
“The people they fired were good people, loyal people,” Drexler said. “It’s a whole new world, and it’s not a world I choose to be a part of.”
Trading Drexler would not be easy. He’s 32 years old, is coming off two injury-plagued seasons and has an $8.75 million balloon payment coming up in 1995-96, the final year of his contract. Drexler said he’s willing to redraw his contract.
“It may take some restructuring, but things could be worked out,” he said.
Nelson suspends Sprewell
Latrell Sprewell, the leading scorer for the Golden State Warriors, was suspended without pay for Thursday night’s game against Milwaukee for skipping practice.
Sprewell missed practice Wednesday, the second time he has skipped practice recently. He also missed practice Dec. 21 and was late for another Dec. 26.
Sprewell is 11th in the league in scoring and leads the Warriors with 22.7 points per game.