Rose feels team being left behind

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

The Philadelphia 76ers acquired forward Chris Webber, the Boston Celtics landed forward Antoine Walker and the Raptors added nothing.

While the worst division in basketball became quite a bit stronger prior to the NBA trade deadline yesterday, the Raptors stood aside as Atlantic Division rivals stocked up on talent.

The 76ers, who scooped up Webber from the Sacramento Kings, and the Celtics, who corralled Walker from the Atlanta Hawks, were the big movers and shakers at the deadline.

The 76ers, tied with the Celtics for first in the Atlantic and 4 1/2 games ahead of the fourth-place Raptors entering play last night, certainly caught the attention of Toronto players with their big move Wednesday night.

"It affects our team a whole hell of a lot because they are in our division," said Raptors forward/guard Jalen Rose, who spent the all-star break with Webber, a teammate of Rose at the University of Michigan, in Miami.

"They still kept (Samuel) Dalembert and they kept (Andre) Iguodala, basically the cores of their team. It looks like they are real serious about trying to win our division.

"Webber is going to be a dominant power forward in the East because that's a weak position in our conference."

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James also praised the 76ers for their moves.

"They're going to probably win the Atlantic now," James said.

"It's going to make them one of the top four teams in the (East). I know (Allen) Iverson is very happy about it. I'm going to call him and tell him he got an early Christmas present."

The Celtics brought back a one-time team captain in Walker by sending Gary Payton, Tom Gugliotta and Michael Stewart to the lowly Hawks. There is some speculation Atlanta will waive Payton and he will wind up back in Boston.

Interestingly, Celtics basketball boss Danny Ainge traded away Walker months after taking over in Boston in 2003.

"I think Antoine's ego was hurt a little bit," Ainge said. "He's a prideful guy, but I think he knows that it wasn't personal. I told him it was a lot more pleasant calling him this time. It's never fun making that (other) call.

"But, to be honest, I don't care what he thinks of me. I'm just glad he's excited to come to Boston."

So where do the Raptors stand in the new-look Atlantic?

"It's going to be tough because we've probably got some situations we could have shored up through trades and what not, but it didn't happen," Rose said. "But the players still have to go out and compete and earn their money."


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