| ||Associated Press|
SEATTLE -- Patrick Ewing wants to end his NBA career in
Seattle. Now it's up to the SuperSonics to decide if they want him
beyond next season.
Ewing, the Sonics' new starting center, was introduced to the
Seattle media at a news conference Monday following last week's
megatrade involving four teams and 12 players.
"I'm here and I plan to finish my career here," said Ewing, the former New
York Knicks center and a nine-time All-Star.
"I don't want to play for three different teams or I would have
stayed in New York," Ewing added. "I came out here to play and to
win and to enjoy how many more years I have left to play."
Ewing, 38, averaged 32.8 minutes, 15 points and 9.7 rebounds in
62 games in his 15th season with the Knicks.
He will earn $14 million for the final season of a $60 million,
four-year contract he signed with the Knicks. He has said he wants
to play two more seasons after this one, but wouldn't say that
He said he didn't seek to be traded by the Knicks just because
they wouldn't give him a contract extension.
"I'm not even worried about the contract," he said. "Back in
New York, they said I wanted to be traded because they didn't give
me a contract extension. I didn't ask for a contract extension and
I'm not thinking about a contract extension now."
Ewing said he will let his play decide if he's good enough to be
offered a new contract by the Sonics.
Team president and general manager Wally Walker was at the news
conference along with Ewing's agent, David Falk.
"I'm going to come here and try to get to know everybody and
win as many games as possible and let Wally and David take care of
all that stuff when the time comes," Ewing said.
Falk said Ewing decided it was time to leave the Knicks because
he no longer felt wanted.
"I think both parties recognized that there were changes being
made on the team and the environment of the team was changing,"
Falk said. "I think Patrick felt in that kind of environment that
it was time to move on."
Falk will try to get his client a new contract from Sonics owner
Barry Ackerley if Ewing plays well enough to deserve one. Ackerley
was at the news conference and handed Ewing a Sonics jersey with
the number 33. He wore 33 with the Knicks.
"We didn't bring him here for one year to go to a new team next
year," Falk said. "It's our hope that the love affair that
started today will continue, the team will play well and that he'll
finish his career here. But it's got to work first."
In getting the 7-foot Ewing, the Sonics gave up seven players
and three draft choices. The Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix
Suns were involved, with the Lakers getting power forward Horace
Grant from Seattle.
Walker said the Sonics didn't want to give up Grant and help the
NBA champion Lakers, who are in the Pacific Division with them, but
they felt they had to do it to get the center they so badly needed.
Walker admitted he was concerned about Ewing's health. Ewing has
had knee problems in the past and has a surgically repaired wrist.
"We have to see how it works out, particularly related to his
health," Walker said. "My most optimistic wish is that at the end
of the year he's had a great year and the team has played well and
my biggest concern is getting him re-signed. I would like that."
Last season, the Sonics won 45 games and finished seventh in the
Western Conference. They were eliminated by Utah in five games in
the first round of the playoffs.
Ewing joins returning starters Gary Payton and Vin Baker, both
Olympians, and Rashard Lewis and Brent Barry. If Ewing can't play,
the Sonics can use Baker, a power forward, at center or go with
backup center Jelani McCoy.
Coach Paul Westphal said Seattle's success this season will
depend on how much Ewing is able to contribute. The team opens its
training camp Tuesday without Payton and Baker, who are in Sydney
for the Olympics.
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