Blazers sign veteran guard Mo Williams
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The Portland Trail Blazers have signed veteran free agent guard Mo Williams.
Williams has played 10 seasons in the NBA with stops in Milwaukee, Cleveland, the Clippers and Utah, averaging 13.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 5 assists. Last season with the Jazz, the 6-foot-1 Williams averaged 12.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 6.2 assists but he was hampered by surgery on his right thumb that sidelined him for two months.
He will wear No. 7, Brandon Roy's former number, for the Blazers.
"As a player, Mo is an explosive scorer and willing facilitator,'' Blazers general manager Neil Olshey said in a statement. "As a person, his character and professionalism will set an outstanding example for our young players on the court, in the locker room and in the Portland community.''
The Blazers scheduled a news conference Thursday afternoon to announce the signing.
Williams announced his move via Twitter, posting: "Portland here I come!!!!!! (hash)playoffs.''
The Jazz, 22-24 with Williams in the lineup, finished 43-39 and just out of the final Western Conference playoff spot. Many of the players on that team were free agents, including Al Jefferson, who was signed to a three-year, $40.5 million deal by the Charlotte Bobcats, and Paul Millsap, who signed a two-year, $19 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks.
Terms of Williams' contract with the Trail Blazers were not released, but it was reported to be a two-year deal worth $5.6 million, with a player option for the second year.
Williams, who will be 31 in December, was one of the last major unrestricted free agents still available this summer. At season's end, he had expressed a desire to return to the Jazz.
"I was drafted here,'' Williams, a second-round pick by Utah in 2003 acquired in a trade last summer, said then. "This organization gave me a shot when I first came in the league, when I was a young pup. Now I'm at a point in my career where stability is key. ... It will be disappointing (if I'm not back), but I'm going into my 11th year and I understand the business side of it. I understand the youth movement.''
Williams, an All-Star in 2009, was taken by Utah with the 47th overall pick in the 2003 draft out of Alabama.
He returned to the Jazz last summer in the four-team deal that sent Lamar Odom to the Clippers.
Williams played for Olshey when he was with the Clippers and Blazers head coach Terry Stotts when he was with Milwaukee.
"I'm very excited to be back with Mo again,'' Stotts said in a statement. "He adds versatility, scoring and veteran leadership to the team.''
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