Trade time for Wells? Not now
The Blazer guard's behavior turns off other NBA teams, too
Even with all the commotion, don't expect a Bonzi Wells trade this season. The market value of the Trail Blazers' resident rabble-rouser made like Enron the last few weeks, and General Manager John Nash doesn't intend to play host to a fire sale.
'If an opportunity presents itself whereby we can get ourselves a good player without a bad contract, we would do it,' says Nash, who spoke to representatives of a half-dozen NBA teams about the Blazer guard Wednesday.
'Right now, I can't say there's potential for a deal that would make sense. We don't want to take another team's baggage, or a player with plenty of financial obligation.
'This might be the time for us to suck it up,' he says. 'As much as we would like to accommodate the fans Ñ and we realize what their preference would be Ñ the short-term cure may not be in taking on somebody else's long-term contract.'
Nash already was sniffing around for interest in Wells before the Blazer guard's two well-publicized moments of indiscretion in the first three weeks of the season. A single-fingered salute to fans and a cussing out of the coach don't go over well with possible suitors, especially given Wells' considerable track record.
'Bonzi has put another suitcase on the baggage cart,' Nash says. 'His value was probably significantly higher at the start of training camp when he professed to have turned over a new leaf. That obviously is no longer.'
Wells said before the season that he knew his transformation wasn't going to happen overnight, that there probably would be 10 percent left of the old Bonzi. Seems he has used up that 10 percent rather quickly.
'I'm not sure his math was accurate,' Nash says.
Wells' agent, Bill Strickland, raised the trade issue when he spoke with team President Steve Patterson this week. As of yet, there is no formal request.
'The odd thing is, both of those guys say they like it here,' Patterson says.
Can you guess who the 'guy' besides Wells is? A player who has caused a bit of trouble himself over the past few seasons. A player who professes no love for members of the Fourth Estate, or for those men in gray shirts with whistles around the neck. No more hints should be necessary.
Wells probably will come off the bench for a while, starting with Sunday's game at Golden State. Coach Maurice Cheeks is a patient man with his players, but he's genuinely sore at Wells.
Most of Wells' teammates are unhappy with him, too. 'I'm more disappointed in Bonzi than anything,' Damon Stoudamire says. 'Bonzi is a player with a world of potential. I get disappointed because he has more to lose than a guy like me. Bonzi is 27, with a lot of years left, and he has a big contract coming up.
'Beyond that, we need Bonzi. He's going to have to figure it out himself. Maybe rap with Maurice and go from there.'
• Qyntel Woods has done it before Ñ made a pair of free throws to win a game. At Moberly (Mo.) Junior College, he sank two with no time on the clock to lift his team past West Plains (Mo.) Junior College. 'A little more was riding on this one,' Woods concedes, referring to Wednesday night's gift shots with 0.4 of a second left to beat Miami.
• Derek Anderson, a visitor to the Blazer locker room before the Sacramento game last week, found a little satisfaction in learning that his back injury was a bulging disk and not just a series of spasms. 'When I was trying to come back, and people were acting like I wasn't really hurt, that was frustrating,' the Blazer guard says.
• A 6-5 start beats 5-6, but with Portland's soft early schedule, it should be more like 7-4 or 8-3. Things will heat up late in the month when the Blazers play host to New Jersey and Indiana, then go on the road to play Memphis, Houston and San Antonio.
• Wells, who made 38 shots from 3-point range last season, is 0 for 6 this year. He is the only starting shooting guard yet to make a 3-pointer this year.