|Traffic | Weather | Your account||Movies | Restaurants | Today's events|
Sonics Notes: Wilcox responds to criticism
Special to The Seattle Times
MINNEAPOLIS — Happy to leave a deteriorating situation with the Clippers, Chris Wilcox joined the Sonics here Wednesday, eager to prove he can finally live up to the potential that made him the No. 8 overall pick in the 2002 draft.
But Wilcox, traded for Vladimir Radmanovic on Tuesday, left a mixed impression on at least one former teammate — Elton Brand, who started ahead of him. Brand told The Long Beach Telegram on Tuesday that the 6-foot-10 Wilcox didn't always put in the effort he could have.
"He gave his best at times, but maybe not all the time," Brand was quoted as saying. "He did work hard, and I've seen him work hard in practice and do things that were unbelievable with his athleticism. I just hope he gets a chance to express that to the rest of the NBA."
"People are going to say what they want to say because I'm not playing," Wilcox said. "If they came to practice, they'd see I work hard every day. If they don't see that, it's on them."
When told the criticism came from Brand, who saw him every day, Wilcox said, "OK, I'm not there any more. They'll see me here, in Seattle."
Wilcox, who had nine points and three rebounds in 13 minutes Wednesday, said he wanted out of L.A. when he realized he would never play much more than he was. Brand signed a six-year contract extension before the season, and Wilcox — who averaged 4.5 points and 3.6 rebounds for the Clippers — saw his role diminish so much that he played fewer than 10 minutes in four of his last five games as a Clipper.
"When we were investigating doing this, we were told that on a team that can run, he'll be a real asset," Sonics coach Bob Hill said. "The Clippers don't run. ... Maybe we got lucky, maybe we didn't.
"Everyone says he's a freak athlete. We'll find out."
Hill to face ex-team
The Sonics' first game after the All-Star break is Tuesday in San Antonio, where Hill — who coached the Spurs from 1994 to 1996 — still has a home. San Antonio won 121 games in two-plus seasons with Hill as the coach, but general manager Gregg Popovich fired Hill and took over when the Spurs started 3-15 in 1996-97. The Spurs won three NBA titles under Popovich.
Hill insists he isn't bitter about being fired, though he occasionally wonders how many NBA titles he might have won with those players. And, he said, he harbors no hard feelings toward most members of the organization.
Popovich, though, might be another story. Recalling the conversation where Popovich told him he was fired, Hill said, "I looked at him and said, 'How can you bring a family to San Antonio, make all the promises to us that you made, do this, and look yourself in the mirror?' Then I walked out and shut the door quietly."
• Minnesota guard Troy Hudson is strongly considering season-ending surgery on his sore right ankle, which kept him out of his seventh straight game Wednesday night.
After a visit the day before with the North Carolina doctor who conducted the original operation on his ankle in April 2004, Hudson received the surgery recommendation and told the team that's what he was leaning toward. The other options are to simply play with the pain or to receive regular cortisone shots.
"It's Troy's decision," said coach Dwane Casey, whose team is lacking in three-point shooters with the departure of Wally Szczerbiak.
After the ankle injury limited him to 29 games in 2003-04 and kept him out of the playoffs, Hudson wasn't at full strength last season and his production suffered after signing a six-year contract worth up to $37 million.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company