Guard uncertain about staying with Raptors

Updated: February 9, 2005, 11:03 PM ET
Associated Press

TORONTO -- Rafer Alston wants an apology and he's not sure he wants to stay with the Toronto Raptors.

Rafer Alston
Point Guard
Toronto Raptors
Profile
2004-2005 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
47 13.8 3.5 7.0 .390 .762

The point guard and coach Sam Mitchell argued after Alston was benched in the first quarter of Tuesday's loss against Cleveland. Alston didn't come out of the dressing room for the second half and was seen crying as he was escorted to the team bus by security during the fourth quarter.

Alston had just returned to the Raptors on Thursday, following a two-game suspension the team gave him after he stormed out of practice last week.

"When I walked out of practice the other day I was man enough to apologize, man enough to say I made a mistake. Somebody better be man enough to say they made a mistake," Alston said before Wednesday night's game versus Milwaukee.

Alston was adamant he did nothing wrong when he argued with Mitchell during halftime on Tuesday. He started against the Bucks and had 16 points and seven assists in the first half.

"I did absolutely nothing, anything. If I did, I wouldn't be playing," he said.

Asked if he's happy in Toronto, Alston said: "That remains to be seen."

When told Alston wanted an apology, Mitchell said: "I don't know who that is directed to."

Mitchell met with Alston earlier Wednesday, but Mitchell wouldn't divulge any details.

Mitchell acknowledged he's harder on his point guards because of the responsibility they have. Mitchell has criticized Alston for shooting too much. The Raptors are 1-8 when Alston scores 20 or more points.

Alston has been in trouble before. During a loss to Boston on Dec. 3, Mitchell told Alston to get off the bench after he received a technical foul. Mitchell benched Alston for the rest of the game and didn't start him the next game. Alston was so upset, he threatened to leave the team and quit the NBA altogether before later backtracking.

Toronto general manager Rob Babcock says the team is working with Alston to help him rein in his emotions. The Raptors signed the 28-year-old to a six-year contract worth between $27 million and $30 million this past summer.

Alston was a second-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1998 out of Fresno State but spent his first season on the NBA's suspended list because of legal problems.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press