Right, wrong way to hide disappointment

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:06 PM ET

Donyell Marshall is not a vicitm. Eric Williams is not a victim.

Everyone needs to remember that, including Marshall and, in particular, Williams.

Both are getting paid millions of dollars to play basketball for the Raptors. Both wish they were playing more, so both wanted to be traded before the NBA deadline on Thursday.

But both remain Raptors. They will have to endure the pain.

At least Marshall was enough of a stand-up guy to address the media yesterday afternoon in Milwaukee, where the Raptors played the Bucks last night. Marshall never verbally demanded a trade through the media, but his desire to leave had been made clear through his agent's behind-the-scenes badgering.

"I'm feeling fine," said Marshall, fairly unconvincingly.

Is he disappointed?

"Why, because I didn't want to talk to you (late Thursday)?" Marshall said with irritation.

"I just didn't want to talk. That had nothing to do with me being disappointed. I'm here to play and that's all that matters. I can't do anything about anything."

If Marshall finds being a Raptor repugnant, he can take solace in the fact he will be a free agent next summer. The chances of him re-signing in Toronto are virtually nil, but he will be coveted by many other teams.

"I'm just worrying about playing this season out and playing well," Marshall said.

"(Free agency) is in the summertime and that's months away. Hopefully, there is no lockout (the NBA's collective-bargaining agreement with its players runs out at the end of June) and we'll worry about that when the time comes."

Williams, on the other hand, refused to talk to the media yesterday afternoon. As he walked off the court after shootaround, he mumbled something about how the reporters would have to make up their own stories.

Remember, it was Williams who last month announced to the media -- unsolicited -- that he wanted to be traded. He apparently had no problem going through the media when he wanted to get his message out.

But now that he didn't get what he asked for, the media can kiss his butt. Very smooth.

Here is the blunt truth about Eric Williams: Since coming over from the New Jersey Nets in December as part of the Vince Carter deal, Williams has played horribly on the whole. He started 16 games but did not contribute anything substantial at either end of the court.

Since Williams arguably was the key player acquired by Toronto in the Carter trade, don't you think the Raptors would like to be playing him more, if only to make the deal more palatable? How badly must Williams be performing, in games and in practice, for his minutes to be cut so dramatically?

Williams was given a chance by the Raptors, but he made his own bed with his lousy play. Then he asked for a trade despite having absolutely no clout or leverage.

Marshall has far more of a realistic complaint when it comes to court time. When Marshall plays, he tends to play reasonably well. That has not changed.

Raptors teammate Jalen Rose took the time yesterday to stick up for Marshall.

"Any time you are starting somebody like Hoffa (rookie centre Rafael Araujo), it shows you're trying to rebuild and you're trying to see what you're going to be able to get out of your No. 8 pick," Rose said. "Donyell Marshall probably was our most productive big man, along with Chris Bosh, last year. So when we came into this season and (Marshall) wasn't a starter, that lent itself to the ideology of rebuilding."

Rose wasn't endorsing that strategy or condemning it, but merely pointing it out, as a way of supporting a pal.

We understand Marshall's frustration. And we recognize Williams' frustration, even though he seems to have an unrealistic view of his own standing.

The bottom line is, if you are playing in the NBA and earning an NBA salary, you are not a victim.

Case closed.


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