Spurs deal Nesterovic to Raptors for Williams, Bonner

SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs traded center Rasho Nesterovic and cash to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday for
forwards Matt Bonner and Eric Williams and a second-round pick in

The move creates flexibility for the Spurs on their roster and
salary cap.

The 30-year-old Nesterovic has $23.5 million and three years
left on his contract, while Bonner and Williams are entering the
final year of their contracts. They could be traded again to teams
hoping to open cap room next summer or the Spurs could keep them
and enjoy that luxury themselves in 2007.

Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo is eager to put the
7-foot, 255-pound Nesterovic in the middle alongside blossoming
forward Chris Bosh.

"He's a smart basketball player who will help address our
needs, particularly on the defensive end of the floor," Colangelo

Nesterovic signed with San Antonio three summers ago with the
unenviable task of replacing David Robinson -- numerically, that is,
as no one expected him to live up to the Admiral's standards.

Nesterovic averaged 8.7 points and 7.7 rebounds over 28.7
minutes his first season, then dropped off drastically. He was down
to career lows of 4.5 points and 3.9 rebounds this past season,
while splitting time with Nazr Mohammed.

Neither center played much in the second-round series against
Dallas, which the Spurs lost in seven games. Coach Gregg Popovich
used a smaller lineup with forward Robert Horry at center and
hinted he might go with that kind of lineup more next season.

This move could be the first step in that direction, with the
6-foot-10 Bonner a candidate to start in the middle.

Mohammed is a free agent, so whether the club tries to re-sign
him will be the next indicator. If the Spurs are interested in
keeping Mohammed, he might be more willing to listen with
Nesterovic out of the way.

Bonner, coming off his second season out of Florida, averaged
7.5 points and 3.6 rebounds last season. He also made 42 percent of
his 3-pointers.

"Bonner is a big guy who has the unique ability of knocking
down the outside shot, which will help us spread the floor," Spurs
general manager R.C. Buford said. "Williams gives us a steady
veteran presence and some added depth at the forward position."

Williams, who turns 34 next month, is an 11-year veteran with
career averages of 8.8 points and 3.3 rebounds. He played only 28
games last season and averaged a career-low 3.3 points. The Spurs
will be his sixth team, fifth in four seasons. He was acquired by
Toronto in the deal that sent Vince Carter to New Jersey.

The Raptors also released center Robert Whaley.