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Raptors trade Alston to Rockets for James

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. -- The Toronto Raptors traded temperamental point guard Rafer Alston to the Houston Rockets for guard Mike James on Tuesday.

Alston, 29, was involved in several scrapes last season. He threatened to quit the team and the NBA after a Dec. 3 game in Boston and was suspended by the Raptors for two games for conduct detrimental to the club after he walked out during a practice.

Alston averaged 14.2 points in 2004-05 with 3.5 rebounds and 6.4
assists.

James, 30, has played in Miami, Boston, Detroit, Milwaukee and
Toronto general manager Rob Babcock insisted the deal had
nothing to do with Alston's attitude.

"Rafer's attitude has been terrific, and he's worked very hard,
learned a lot from last year," Babcock said. "He had a great
attitude coming in here, so that has nothing to do with it at
all."

The move could save the team as much as $16 million over the
next five years.

"Rafer still would have been a good fit for our team, but we
felt this was a better fit and certainly gives us more flexibility
down the road in regards to the cap," he said.

James was expected to arrive Tuesday night and practice
Wednesday. He averaged 9.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists in
248 career games with Miami, Boston, Detroit, Milwaukee and
Houston.

"Mike James is a positive player," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell.
"He's got playoff experience, he's played for some good coaches
and we're looking forward to bringing him in."

The Raptors opened training camp in St. Catharines on Tuesday.