GM: Trade request news to me

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

Raptors GM Rob Babcock said he has not talked to disgruntled forward Eric Williams about a trade, and is disappointed in his player for sounding off to the media before talking to him first.

In a bizarre twist to the latest Raptors soap opera, Williams' agent, Mark Bartelstein, said yesterday that he talked to Babcock about trading his client to another team. Babcock said that is a load of hooey.

"Eric has not asked me for a trade, I've only seen that in print," Babcock told the Sun. "And his agent has not talked to me about requesting a trade."

Williams, the supposed key acquisition by the Raptors in the Dec.17 Vince Carter trade, railed against the organization prior to Wednesday's game against Milwaukee, saying that he wants out unless he receives more playing time.

In Toronto, he's averaging 19.9 minutes per game. But since he was demoted from the starting lineup after a 16-game run as Jalen Rose's replacement, he barely has played -- including sitting the past two games. While in New Jersey, he was starting and averaging 35 minutes per game.

"I'm always disappointed if a player on our team feels that he needs to move someplace else," Babcock said about Williams' wish for a trade. "I don't like reading that in the press. But I understand Eric is frustrated and that he doesn't have a trust factor built in with us yet. I'm not mad at him, I'm just disappointed that he didn't come to me first."

Bartelstein said that his client does not want to be a disruptive force inside the locker-room, he just wants to play.

"People have to understand Eric's situation," Bartelstein said. "This is a guy who was a free agent last summer with a number of teams pursuing him and he chose New Jersey because he has family there, his son is there, he grew up there. And he was playing great basketball and then gets traded to Toronto. He didn't sign to play in Toronto."

Bartelstein said that his client was "very disappointed" when the trade went down but was assured by Babcock and head coach Sam Mitchell that being traded to the Raptors would be good for his career. Instead, it has turned into a nightmare.


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