Blazers discipline Patterson for cursing at coach

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Trail Blazers have placed forward Ruben Patterson on the inactive list after he cursed at coach Nate McMillan during Sunday's loss to the New York Knicks over his lack of playing time.

Patterson will remain in Portland while the rest of the team is on a six-game road trip.

"We will not tolerate this type of behavior from any player," Blazers GM John Nash said in a statement released Monday. "We will continue to demand a higher level of professionalism and personal responsibility from all of our players or we will continue to take appropriate action."

The Blazers lost to the Knicks 103-92, committing 23 turnovers, allowing 18 points off offensive rebounds and virtually not bothering to show up on defense against a New York team that was without several key players.

Patterson's tirade over playing time came during the team's huddle between the third and fourth quarters.

"It is clear to me that the Blazers have made a decision to develop younger players, which is their prerogative," said Dan Fegan, Patterson's Los Angeles-based agent. "Unfortunately, Ruben Patterson is at the prime of his career, and his play merits more time than he is getting with the Blazers. As a result, I have had conversations with John Nash about how to best handle the situation."

Fegan would not say whether Patterson has requested a trade to another team.

McMillan, who came to Portland this season after five years as coach of the Seattle SuperSonics, inherited a young, troubled team that has dealt with player misbehavior, personnel changes from the front office down, fan disenchantment and two years without a postseason.

The new coach has vowed to get his team under control, but in addition to Patterson, he has already clashed with star forward Zach Randolph, ejecting him from practice after Randolph said something that displeased McMillan during a drill.

"Character and talent are the things we're looking for in a player," he said in an earlier interview with The Associated Press. "It's important that the players understand they have to respect the game. They have to respect the league. And they have to respect the fans. You must be a professional at all times."

Patterson, who declared last year he had given up alcohol, has become known for off-court incidents.

In 2001, Patterson pleaded guilty in the state of Washington to an attempted rape charge for allegedly forcing his children's 24-year-old nanny to perform a sex act. Patterson had to register as a sex offender in Oregon and was suspended for the first five games of the following season by the NBA.

In February 2001, he was convicted of misdemeanor assault for attacking a man who scratched his car outside a Cleveland night club.

In November 2002, he was arrested on felony domestic abuse charges. His wife, Shannon Patterson, later dropped the charges, but the couple divorced.

Mike Hanson, a spokesman for the Blazers, said Patterson would continue to receive his paycheck while he is on the inactive list. The team has not yet decided which player will fill Patterson's spot on the roster, Hanson said.