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Saturday, February 22
Updated: April 16, 2:57 PM ET
Allen says relationship with Karl was rocky

Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Ray Allen sounds happy to be away from George Karl.

Acquired by Seattle this week in a five-player trade that sent Gary Payton to the Milwaukee Bucks, Allen was introduced with three other new SuperSonics players at a news conference on Saturday.

Allen, a three-time All-Star shooting guard, said he thought Karl had become too critical of Allen's game.

"George and I got on each other for a while trying to coexist at the same time,'' he said. "We struggled with each other. This summer, I thought that whatever is going to happen should happen because I thought that I had been in Milwaukee long enough. If I got traded, I decided I wouldn't be upset.''

Allen was introduced along with guards Kevin Ollie and Ronald Murray, who came over on Thursday in the Bucks-Sonics' trade for Payton and swingman Desmond Mason. The Sonics also got center Elden Campbell in a trade with New Orleans for their backup point guard, Kenny Anderson.

In Milwaukee, Allen played 6½ seasons, the past 4½ under Karl, who previously coached the Sonics for 6½ seasons.

In 2001, the Bucks won 52 games and reached the Eastern Conference Finals, but they missed the playoffs with a 41-41 record last season. This season, the Bucks were 27-26 when Allen was traded for Payton.

Allen said his relationship with Karl fell apart last season.

"I think when we started to lose games, we kind of went away from each other,'' he said. "We didn't really communicate well. Last year, he wanted to blame me for certain things and blame it on other guys for certain things and there were times we wanted to blame him as well.''

Karl was critical of Allen's defense. Allen disagreed.

"I think he was pushing a bad rap on me because I love playing defense,'' Allen said. "I love playing team basketball. I love going out there to make sure we win basketball games.''

By coincidence, the Bucks were in Seattle on Friday night to play the Sonics, but Allen flew back to Milwaukee before the game. He returned to Seattle for a practice on Saturday before the Sonics flew to Los Angeles to play the Lakers on Sunday night.

In Friday night's game, the Sonics held the Bucks to a franchise-low 58 points in an 88-58 victory. None of the players involved in the Seattle-Milwaukee swap were allowed to play in the game.

Brent Barry replaced the departed Payton at point guard and had a career-high 16 assists. Rashard Lewis, Seattle's starting small forward, had 20 points.

Allen watched the Sonics beat his former team on television and was impressed. He will be Seattle's starting shooting guard when the Sonics play the Lakers.

"This team is good,'' he said. "Brent is a great leader out there on the floor and Rashard is a very talented young player.''

He said he did not feel any pressure to being the feature player the Sonics got in return in a trade for Payton, who is probably the best player in the franchise's history.

Besides, he's faced pressure before.

After being selected fifth in the 1996 NBA draft following his junior season at UConn, the Minnesota Timerwolves traded Allen's draft rights to Milwaukee for those of guard Stephon Marbury, the fourth player picked that season. Allen said a lot of fans in Milwaukee weren't happy with the trade.

Allen, who is averaging 21.3 points this season and 19.6 points in his career, thought it was time to leave Milwaukee, but he also wanted to wish Karl the best of luck.

"I think he's a great coach,'' he said. "I know he put me in situations to score and win games. You know I've won since he's been in Milwaukee. He had a lot to do with my production.''

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