Blazers get Gerald Wallace in trade with Bobcats

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Bobcats traded forward Gerald Wallace to the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday for a package that includes two first-round picks as owner Michael Jordan cuts payroll and eyes the future.

The Bobcats get center Joel Przybilla and reserve forward Dante Cunningham and center Sean Marks, who are in the last year of their contracts. They also got a conditional 2011 first-round pick that Portland acquired from New Orleans, and a conditional 2013 first-rounder from the Trail Blazers along with cash.

Coach Paul Silas confirmed the Bobcats also sent backup center Nazr Mohammed to Oklahoma City for reserve forward D.J. White and the expiring contract of guard Morris Peterson in a busy day just before the trade deadline.

A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Thursday night that Marks and Peterson likely won't play for the Bobcats and will eventually be waived. Also, forwards Dominic McGuire and Derrick Brown and guard Sherron Collins will be waived to make room on the roster, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the Mohammed deal was still awaiting league approval and the moves had not been made.

Wallace, averaging 15.6 points and 8.2 rebounds, was the last original member of the Bobcats, taken in the 2004 expansion draft. He developed from a benchwarmer in Sacramento to an All-Star last season and was clearly the face of the fledgling franchise on the floor.

"Needless to say, this was a difficult decision for our organization," Jordan said in a letter posted on the team's website. "Gerald epitomized everything we want our team to be about and we cannot thank him enough for his contributions to the Charlotte Bobcats. As the trade deadline approached, we were presented with an opportunity that we felt was in the long term best interest of the team.

"The two first round draft picks we received will be part of the foundation that the future of this team will be built upon."

The 28-year-old Wallace's numbers had tailed off some this season and he's due to make about $21 million over the next two years. Without Wallace, the Bobcats (25-32) will likely face a difficult task staying in playoff contention, where they sit 11/2; games behind eighth-place Indiana in the Eastern Conference.

The move gives Portland another athletic scorer, rebounder and shot blocker just as Brandon Roy returned from knee surgery this week, although it's uncertain how Wallace will fit in. Nicolas Batum has been starting at small forward.

Wallace has played some power forward, but has publicly expressed his dislike for banging with bigger players down low. Wallace, a former NBA All-Defensive team member, has sustained at least four concussions in his career.

But Wallace provides another key piece for Portland, which has stayed in the playoff race despite numerous injuries. The Blazers (32-25) had won six straight before Wednesday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers and sit in seventh place in the crowded Western Conference standings.

"He is just the sort of talent we were looking for," Blazers owner Paul Allen said. "I'm sure our fans will embrace him and hopefully he can help us make some noise in the playoffs."

The Bobcats had been shopping Wallace for months, and the talks increased since Gerald Henderson's emergence of late. They had discussions with Cleveland and had been in on-and-off talks with the Blazers over the past few days, haggling over different combinations of players and draft picks.

Wallace had expressed a desire to stay in Charlotte right through Thursday's practice, which ended about three hours before the trade.

"I love the city of Charlotte. I love the fans," Wallace said. "I feel like I owe the city. The city doesn't owe me anything. I was given an opportunity to showcase my skills here."

The 7-foot-1 Przybilla was averaging 1.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 31 games this season, including nine starts, after recovering from a knee injury.

"Joel has been in Portland with me during my entire time here, and he really helped guide the organization in a new direction," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said.

Przybilla will likely replace Mohammed as Kwame Brown's backup. Mohammed, who was in the final year of his deal, will now join the athletic and talented Thunder.

Cunningham, a second-round pick from Villanova in 2009, was averaging 5.1 points and 3.4 rebounds. White, who is due only $2 million next season, has played in 28 games and is averaging 2.8 points this season. The 33-year-old Peterson has not played in a game since Dec. 12.

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