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Webber returns to Warriors, team he started with

HOUSTON -- Golden State coach Don Nelson had no reservations
about reacquiring Chris Webber 13 years after the two clashed and
Webber asked for a trade.

The free-agent forward signed a contract Tuesday, returning to
the team that drafted him in 1993. Warriors executive vice
president Chris Mullin did not release details of the deal.

ESPN.com's Marc Stein, who first reported the deal, says that Webber has signed for a pro-rated share of the league's $1.2 million veteran minimum, which computes to just less than $570,000 if he stays with Golden State to the end of the regular season.

The Warriors were playing in Houston on Tuesday night and New
Orleans on Wednesday. Nelson said Webber would join the Warriors on
Thursday when the team returned to Oakland.

"He's one of the best passing big men to ever play the game,"
Nelson said. "That's going to really help us. And then he's going
to increase our team IQ. He's a very smart player. And he's another
big man, he makes us one more deep all along the roster.

"I think it's going to work out great and I can't wait to see
him."

Nelson said Webber was working out with strength and
conditioning coach John Murray in Oakland on Tuesday. Webber hasn't
played in a game since Detroit lost to Cleveland in last season's
Eastern Conference finals.

Nelson was hoping Webber would be ready for Golden State's Feb.
7 game against Chicago. The Warriors play Charlotte on Feb. 1, then
have six days off before that game, giving Webber time to work on
his conditioning.

"That's our job to get him in shape and get him where he feels
good and comfortable," Nelson said.

Not long after he was drafted, Webber started fighting with
Nelson and he demanded a trade before his second season. The former
Michigan star eventually was dealt to Washington in November 1994
and he's been loudly booed at Oracle Arena ever since.

When Golden State's brass asked Nelson if he'd have a problem
coaching Webber again, Nelson said no.

"I didn't know how he felt about it, but I know now," Nelson
said. "He feels good about it as well."

"We're glad that Chris has elected to sign with our club and
feel fortunate to add a player with his ability," Mullin said.
"We think he will be a nice addition to our team and provide
additional depth to our front court and an added veteran presence
on the floor."

Webber was NBA Rookie of the Year with the Warriors in 1993-94.
He demanded a trade following that season, and has since played for
Washington, Sacramento, Philadelphia and Detroit.

"It is with great pride and humility that I announce my return
to the Golden State Warriors, the place where it all started," the
five-time All-Star said in a statement released by the Warriors.
"In playing for Nellie before, I know how much fun his style of
ball can be."

To make room on the roster, the Warriors waived guard
Troy Hudson.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.