Webber says he's not accepting Greece offer, only wants to be a Piston

Updated: October 2, 2007, 10:03 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

Chris Webber said Monday that he will not be accepting a lucrative offer to finish his career in Greece and revealed that the Detroit Pistons are the only team he can see himself playing for this season.

Chris Webber

Webber

Webber also told ESPN.com in a phone interview that he's still "weighing all my options," which include the possibility of retirement at age 34 if he doesn't return to the Pistons.

Yet it's believed that Detroit remains intent on re-signing Webber, provided it can shed a salary or two by trading away Flip Murray and/or Nazr Mohammed.

ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan reported Friday that Webber had received a two-year offer from perennial Greek power Olympiacos worth between $10 million and $12 million tax-free. Webber declined to discuss specific amounts he's been presented with but insists that he's not paying very close attention anyway.

"I'm not going to Greece," Webber said. "It's no disrespect to [Olympiacos], but I can't do that. I'm an NBA guy. I don't want to just chase money. I want to make sure I respect the game.

"To tell you the truth, it's kind of stupid in a way to turn down stupid money, as my dad would call it, but I can't just do it for the money. If I'm going to play, I'm only going to play as a Piston ... unless something crazy happens."

After a half-season of mixed success in his long-awaited homecoming with Detroit, ending with the disappointment of the Pistons' loss to Cleveland in the Eastern Conference finals, Webber was also pursued in the offseason by Dallas, Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Magic are expected to come after Webber hard again after losing Tony Battie to a long-term shoulder injury -- Webber and Dwight Howard share Aaron Goodwin as an agent -- but Webber has only seriously considered Detroit and Dallas, hoping for one last shot at the ring that has eluded him for 14 seasons.

"At this point in my life," Webber said, "I only want to play for a championship contender."

Negotiations with the Mavericks stalled in part over contract length. Even without such obstacles, though, moving to Dallas would represent a bigger life change than Webber seems willing to take on.

He prefers to wait for the Pistons to sort out their roster and payroll issues while remaining heavily involved in various business and philanthropic activities. If an opening with the Pistons doesn't materialize and he decides to retire, Webber appears content to shift to those pursuits full-time, much like former Sacramento teammate Vlade Divac.

Webber insists that his growing interest in his business and charitable pursuits -- which include aspirations of owning an NBA team someday -- would be the main motivation to stop playing as opposed to the knee troubles that have plagued him since the 2003 playoffs. Webber maintains that he's healthy enough to play on and Detroit, in spite of any health concerns, is prepared to invite Webber to rejoin the Pistons if they can create the roster room, even if it doesn't happen until or a month or two into the season.

Olympiacos, based in Athens and coached by Israel's Pini Gershon, targeted Webber as its big-name answer to rival Panathinaikos' recent signings of Sarunas Jasikevicius (bought out by Golden State) and Vassilis Spanoulis (waived by San Antonio after being acquired from Houston in the Luis Scola trade). Gershon would have been forced to release one of his American players -- Qyntel Woods, Lynn Greer and Lawrence Roberts, all of whom have NBA experience -- if Webber had accepted.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

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