Since the trade that would have sent Portland Trail Blazers forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim to the New Jersey Nets was put on hold because of a failed physical, Abdur-Rahim has changed his tune about heading East.
"Right now I don't feel I want to be a Net," Abdur-Rahim told The New York Post on Saturday. "I can go somewhere else and play my career out. This is not an emotional thing. I've got to stand up for myself."
Questions have risen concerning Abdur-Rahim's knee after the examination was performed by Dr. Michael Kelly, the Nets' orthopedist.
"It was a shock," Nets President Rod Thorn said Thursday. "We
had scheduled a press conference. We did not think there was going
to be anything wrong whatsoever."
The Nets are expected to make their decision on Abdur-Rahim on Monday.
The 29-year-old Abdur-Rahim missed 22 games with the Blazers
last season after undergoing surgery in mid-January to address
loose particles in his right elbow.
"At this point I feel they're doing me a disservice," Abdur-Rahim told the Post. "Look at my history. I've never missed a game because of my knees. They could have asked the team that drafted me [Vancouver] or any of the teams that have traded for me [Atlanta, Portland]. Instead, they're putting it out there like I failed the physical and I'm damaged goods.
"I don't want to be there," Abdur-Rahim told the paper. "We can just part ways and I'll find another situation where I'll have to do some damage control."
New Jersey had agreed to a six-year deal with the veteran forward,
who has averaged 19.8 points and 8.1 rebounds during his nine-year
career with Vancouver, Atlanta and Portland.
Thorn said the team was looking at other options in case the
deal doesn't go through. In order to make a deal with another team
using their trade exception, the Nets would have until next Tuesday
when the exception expires.
"You have to have somebody to deal with, and it took a long
time to make a deal with Portland," Thorn said. "In this case the
time frame would be much shorter."
A source told The Post that the Nets sent copies of the MRI to three of the most prominent sports orthopedic surgeons in the nation -- Dr. David Altcheck, Dr. Russ Warren, the Giants' team doctor, and Dr. James Andrews.
Abdur-Rahim's agent Aaron Goodwin told The Post on Friday that Altcheck agreed with the power forward that the condition is not one for concern.
Under NBA rules, the Nets have 10 days to complete the trade for
Abdur-Rahim from the day it was announced, which would give them
until Aug. 12.
Guard Jeff McInnis and forward Cliff Robinson, two other players
the Nets reached agreements with recently, both passed physicals,
Thorn said. Robinson signed a contract and the McInnis will sign
once details are worked out, he said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.