Blazers waive guards Nick Van Exel and Derek Anderson

Updated: August 3, 2005, 11:40 PM ET
Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland Trail Blazers agreed to terms with free agent guards Juan Dixon and Charles Smith, while waiving veterans Nick Van Exel and Derek Anderson on Wednesday.

The team announced a Thursday news conference to introduce Dixon and Smith.

Dixon comes to Portland after three years with Washington Wizards. He was the 17th overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft after leaving was Maryland as the school's career scoring leader.

He averaged 8.2 points and 1.6 assists with 23 starts with Washington. He was impressive in the playoffs last season, averaging 11.3 points.

Terms of his contract were not released, but The Associated Press had earlier reported he agreed to a three-year deal worth $8 million.

Smith, a shooting guard who played for New Mexico, last played in the NBA with the Blazers in 2003. He played in Europe last season.

The Blazers chose not to retain Van Exel for the last non-guaranteed year of his contract.

Van Exel averaged 10.7 points and 4.3 assists and made 39 starts for the Blazers last season before going on the injured list on March 12 with left knee pain. The 12-year veteran was acquired in a 2004 offseason trade that sent forward Dale Davis and guard Dan Dickau to Golden State.

Van Exel, 34, who has also played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks, has averaged 15 points and 6.9 assists in 821 career games.

Anderson will be designated as the team's amnesty player under the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement, allowing the Blazers to release him and remove his contract amount from the team's salary cap for purposes of calculating the luxury tax.

The Blazers say they will honor the final two years of Anderson's contract and he can sign with another team.

"Given the direction of the team and Derek's limited availability in recent years we felt this was the best solution for all parties. This move gives us additional cap flexibility and minutes for our younger players," Blazers general manager John Nash said in a statement.

The eight-year NBA veteran averaged 9.2 points three assists with 47 games with the Blazers last season but had a variety of injuries, including back spasms.

Anderson, 31, was acquired with Steve Kerr and a second-round draft pick from San Antonio in exchange for Steve Smith on July 25, 2001.

In his four seasons with Portland, Anderson averaged 12 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 244 games.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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