Williams traded to Dallas for veteran Jones, future draft picks, cash
INDIANAPOLIS -- Larry Bird's housecleaning project has claimed another casualty.
Bird, the Pacers' president, has made it clear he plans to repair the team's image after several negative off-the-court issues in recent years. Williams, Indiana's first-round draft pick in 2006, was dogged by three incidents involving police in the past 13 months.
"He's got a lot of potential," Bird told the Associated Press. "You hate to give up on those type of players, but with what we're trying to do here, we felt it was best to move Shawne. This trade wasn't made because he wasn't talented enough, it was because of the other things."
The Pacers already have traded Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson in the past three years for damaging the team's reputation, and the Pacers have told Jamaal Tinsley not to show up to training camp after several scrapes with the law.
Williams will be reunited with new Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, who coached the Pacers when Indiana drafted him out of Memphis in the first round in 2006.
"There's no question Rick wanted him," Bird said. "He was there when we drafted him. He knew the talent, he knew the kid."
Williams' agent, Happy Walters, said it's a good move for Williams.
"He's excited to get to a team and get a new shot and kind of get reinvigorated," Walters said. "He loves Larry [Bird], so he's sad to leave Larry and the Pacers because he has friends there, but he's excited with a new start."
The Pacers said they will get two second-round draft picks as part of the trade.
Williams was not immediately available for comment and will fly to Dallas on Saturday, Walters said.
Williams started only six games in two seasons with Indiana, averaging 5.6 points and 2.3 rebounds.
He was arrested in September 2007 after a traffic stop when an officer found marijuana in the SUV he was driving. He pleaded guilty to driving without ever having received a license, and a drug charge was filed against a passenger. The Pacers suspended Williams for three games.
Last February, a murder suspect in Tennessee was arrested shortly after leaving Williams' suburban Indianapolis home, then in July, police arrested a passenger in Williams' car for marijuana possession. Williams was not arrested but was written up for window tint and seat belt violations.
"I think the Carmel police were kind of like following him around constantly, almost harassing him," Walters said. "So I think it [the trade] is an opportunity for him to get away from that type of thing as well, because I think he was being unduly singled out a little bit."
Bird, the Pacers' president, said publicly after the most recent incident that Williams' career with the team was in jeopardy.
Earlier this week, Williams said the publicity surrounding his run-ins with the law painted a false picture of him.
"People that know me know that I'm a good person," he told The Associated Press. "Hopefully, the people that don't know me get to know me and know that I'm a good person."
He said he also hoped to rehabilitate his image.
Williams, who played only one season at Memphis, has made steady progress as a pro, Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said.
"I think he's maturing as a basketball player," O'Brien said before the trade. "I don't think there's anything from a basketball standpoint that displeases me."
But the off-the-court problems trumped his talent.
"We're just trying to do the things that we have to to get a basketball team that sticks together," Bird said. "It's unfortunate that we've had some incidents that have really brought the whole team down, and put a bad light on our team and our community. Hopefully, we're moving in the right direction."
Veteran center Jeff Foster signed a two-year extension worth $12.7 million, ESPN.com has learned.
The extension kicks in at the end of this season.
The 6-foot-11 Foster was a first-round pick by Golden State in 1999 and came to Indiana in a trade following the draft. He has spent his entire 10-year career with the Pacers, averaging 5 points and 7 rebounds.
Foster says he wants to finish his career with the Pacers.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report