What goes around comes around—at least if it's Herb Williams. The 40-year-old center, who's the league's second-oldest player (Rockets big man Charles Jones is 10 months his senior), has now twice been traded by the Knicks, waived within days by the team that acquired him and quickly picked up again by New York. His Feb. 25 return to the Knicks had to be prearranged, right?
"No," says New York general manager Ernie Grunfeld. "We have tremendous respect for Herb, but it's strange circumstances mat keep bringing him back to us."
On Feb. 18, 1996, Williams, then with New York, was thrown into a trade that sent guard Doug Christie to the Raptors, who wanted a veteran presence on their young team. But a heartbroken Williams went to Isiah Thomas, then Toronto's vice president of basketball, and pleaded to be released. Five days after the trade, Thomas let him go, and five days after that the Knicks scooped him up.
Almost two years to the day after his trade to Toronto, the Knicks shipped Williams to the 76ers in a deal for center Terry Cummings. Williams knew in advance the Sixers would immediately cut him loose, so he began pitching other teams, speaking with Miami and Houston, among others. Even so, says Williams, "My agent asked me where I wanted to go. I told him, 'Back home.' " Williams will earn the prorated minimum salary (approximately $93,000) for the rest of the season. The Knicks have promised their old-timer a spot in the organization when he finally does retire, which he might do this summer. It's more disheartening each season to be a 12th man. "I know I can still contribute, but you've got to have minutes to do that," says Williams. "The Knicks like me, but I guess not that much."
Line of the Week
Bradley Flunks The Boards
Mavericks center Shawn Bradley, Feb. 25 versus the Magic: 18 minutes, 2-5 field goals, 0-0 free throws, 4 points, 0 rebounds. Dallas coach Don Nelson was so disgusted with his 7'6" pivot-man's inability to get even one board (or trip to the line) against 38-year-old journeyman Danny Schayes that he sat Bradley for most of the second half of the Mavericks' 100-79 loss.
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