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Forward wants more PT, less turmoil

TORONTO -- The troubled Toronto Raptors have another problem
to deal with -- forward Eric Williams wants out.

In the wake of another dispute between point guard Rafer Alston
and coach Sam Mitchell, Williams wants to be traded to a team that
will use him.

"No one is benefiting right now. This isn't good for the
Raptors or for Eric," Mark Bartlestein, the agent for Williams,
said Thursday. "If there is a deal that can be done, it makes no
sense to keep him here. He wants to play. He [doesn't just] want to
collect a paycheck."

Toronto general manager Rob Babcock didn't immediately return
phone messages left for him.

Before being acquired from New Jersey in the trade for Vince Carter on Dec. 17, Williams averaged 35 minutes a game.

In Toronto, he's averaging 19.9 minutes per game. But ever since
he was demoted from the starting lineup after a 16-game run as
Jalen Rose's replacement, he has barely played -- including sitting
the last two games.

Williams, who wasn't happy with being traded after signing with
his hometown Nets over the summer, is also disturbed by the turmoil
surrounding the Raptors.

"It's distracting," Bartlestein said. "It's hard to sit there
and watch everybody else blow up around you when you feel like
you're being a done a major injustice."

Toronto general manager Rob Babcock said Williams hasn't played
because of Rose's recent strong play and because of the team's
depth at small forward.
"I know he's frustrated and I understand that. I'm disappointed
that I have to read about it in the media," Babcock said.

Bartlestein said another of his clients, Aaron Williams, also is
disturbed by the turmoil. Aaron Williams also was acquired in the
Carter trade.
"No one likes to be in an environment where there is chaos
every day. It's just not enjoyable. It's not fun to go to work.
Would you want to go to work where every day there is maybe a
street fight?," Bartlestein said.
Alston and Mitchell argued during halftime 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. On Wednesday, Alston
said Mitchell owed him an apology.
Babcock refused to confirm or deny that Mitchell challenged
Alston to a fight.
Alston had just returned to the Raptors following a two-game
suspension after he stormed out of practice last week.
"Do I expect Rafer to be happy right now? No. I understand why
he is not happy right now. I am not happy right now. I don't think
Sam is happy right now," Babcock said.
Babcock met with Mitchell earlier Thursday and talked about how
Mitchell should work with Alston and Williams.
"Did we meet today especially because of the situation with
Rafer and Eric? That was one of the key things that we talked
about, absolutely," Babcock said. "We're doing everything we can
to address those issues."
In the last 11 months, the Raptors have fired general manager
Glen Grunwald and coach Kevin O'Neill and dealt Carter after he
demanded out. Babcock has been criticized for getting little in
return for Carter, who seems rejuvenated in New Jersey. Alonzo
Mourning, also acquired in the three-for-one trade, hasn't reported
to Toronto.
"Everyone on the outside is saying this is a dysfunctional
bunch. It doesn't look like a dysfunctional bunch to me," Babcock
said. "Sam is a rookie head coach and Rafer is a rookie starting
point guard and I am a rookie general manager. We're all learning
about this job. There is a lot to deal with, there's no question."