Team disputes lapse in accountability
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Trail Blazers president Steve Patterson responded Wednesday to a newspaper column about a reported draft agreement between the team and recently suspended forward Darius Miles.
The Oregonian reported that it had obtained an unsigned, typed proposal drafted by a team attorney titled "Settlement Agreement, Release and Covenant Not to Sue."
Under the terms outlined in the reported document, Miles -- who was suspended for two games without pay after a verbal tirade against coach Maurice Cheeks -- would withdraw a grievance he has filed for the suspension, and in return, the Blazers would agree to pay him for lost wages plus interest.
The columnist, John Canzano, wrote that even proposing such a settlement shows the Blazers are not serious about their 25-point pledge to field a team that has character and is accountable to the community.
Patterson, in a statement, did not dispute that such a proposal exists, but said the team has adhered to its pledge, as evidenced by the trades of Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi Wells and the release of Qyntel Woods.
"Today there is a disturbing allegation in the newspaper that we have not been standing by our pledge to hold players accountable for their behavior," Patterson said. "That allegation is flat out unfair and not true."
Patterson added that "an isolated piece of information regarding our dealings with Darius Miles is being used to paint a very negative picture.
"I can tell you that there is a much larger context to our ongoing conversations, which occur everyday with players, coaches, the union, agents and staff."
Oregonian sports editor Dennis Peck said the newspaper stands by its story.
Miles' agent, Jeff Wechsler, told the newspaper that a settlement has not been reached.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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