August 5, 1997 in Sports

Kemp Says He Just Seeks Little Respect All-Star Forward Insists He Won’t Be Back With The Sonics

Associated Press

Shawn Kemp says his demand to be traded by the Seattle SuperSonics is not just a matter of money.

“I play for respect,” he told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in an interview published in Monday’s editions.

“I don’t play for dollars or else I would ask for money every year,” Kemp said. “But when money gets involved in the situation, that’s when it goes sour.

“And that’s what has happened here.”

The team went free-agent shopping last year without factoring his needs into the equation, Kemp said.

“They knew what was going on,” the NBA All-Star power forward said. “They knew the salary cap was going to be involved the following year. … When they signed guys to contracts, they knew what they were doing to me. I think they knew I was going to ask for a trade then.”

“I’m not that special that they should have done something in particular,” he also said. “But what I would have done is taken care of the person who took care of me.

“I guess they did what they were supposed to do from their standpoint. But they knew what would happen.”

Kemp was unhappy when the Sonics signed center Jim McIlvaine last summer to a seven-year, $35 million contract and became more upset as McIlvaine’s playing time decreased during the season.

Soon after the Sonics were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs, Kemp demanded a trade. Under his contract, which runs through 2003 and cannot be altered before Oct. 8, he is scheduled to make $3.6 million in 1997-98.

He has not talked to team officials since his May demand.

“I’m not going to put myself in a position to go over there and be negotiating with those people,” he said. “That doesn’t make sense.

“It doesn’t make sense to say I’m not going to play for Seattle, and go back there and play. When I come out and say I’m not going to play there, that’s the honest-to-God truth.”

And if the Sonics don’t make a trade?

“Come October, the first of November, let them don’t trade me and let them see what happens,” he said.

“I’m not going to threaten anybody. What I’m going to say is come October, come November, December, January, February, March, April, May, June, let them see where Shawn Kemp will be.”

His eight years in Seattle “have been great,” Kemp said.

But it’s time to move on.

“I don’t want any money from them,” he said. “I want to go. I’m ready to go. I’m excited to go. And they should be excited on getting another guy in here and getting their team together.”


© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email