NBA -- Blazers Sign Brian Grant; Clifford Robinson Is Out
PORTLAND, Ore. - Free-agent forward Brian Grant, formerly of Sacramento, signed a seven-year, $63 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers yesterday. The team also re-signed center Chris Dudley to a one-year deal.
Grant's contract, which makes him the highest paid player on the team, includes an opt-out clause after the third year, agent Mark Bartelstein said.
To clear salary-cap room, the Blazers renounced their rights to veteran forward Clifford Robinson and guards Rumeal Robinson, Mitchell Butler and Marcus Brown.
The 6-foot-9 Grant, who played only 24 games last season because of a shoulder injury, said he turned down a seven-year, $48 million deal from the Kings. His best season was 1995-96 as he averaged 14.4 points and 7.0 rebounds.
Grant said he received a more lucrative offer from another team but chose Portland because owner Paul Allen and President Bob Whitsitt showed a strong commitment to winning.
"When you have people like Rasheed Wallace, Kenny Anderson, Arvydas Sabonis, J.R. Rider and young people like Jermaine O'Neal you can grow along with for the next seven or 10 years, you really can't pass up an opportunity like that," Grant said.
In renouncing Clifford Robinson, the Blazers lost their last link to the teams that made the NBA Finals in 1990 and '92. Robinson, who spent his entire eight-year NBA career in Portland, averaged 15.1 points and 4.0 rebounds last season - his lowest numbers in five years. Robinson was seeking $5 million to $6 million a year, but poor performances during the playoffs the past few years dropped his stock.
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