Believe it or not, Jalen Rose thought Rafer Alston was a decent guy.
So did the rest of the turmoil-plagued point guard's ex-teammates.
The Raptors came to Alston's defence yesterday after he was traded to the Houston Rockets for fellow point guard Mike James.
"The biggest misconception is we weren't on the same page," said Rose, who was involved in a memorable verbal sparring match through the media with Alston last season. "I think a lot of times in being a voice and being a leader of a team, if I say something, it's not that I dislike a guy. I dislike an action or a situation. We always got along personally. Last year, we hung out. This summer, we hung out.
Alston, who was a walking headline for all the wrong reasons last season, came into camp with what appeared to be an improved attitude, and his teammates recognized that.
"He was working toward that," Raptors forward Chris Bosh said. "Hopefully, we won't have any issues like that (this season). I'm not saying we would have if Rafer was here. It was going to be good chemistry no matter what, if he was here or not."
Veteran point guard Alvin Williams, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, wished Alston well. Williams spoke up about the lack of team chemistry apparent at the end of last season.
"It was a little tough for him here at times, but he's a good dude," Williams said. "He's just emotional. He played well for us, but he's moving on and going to a good situation."
Bosh is thankful the trade went down when it did.
"You have to get familiar with (James)," he said.
"You've got to learn his tendencies and he has to do the same. He has to learn a whole other system, where to get the ball, to what guys and the right places. It's going to be a challenge on both parts."
Williams practised yesterday, but did not take part in any full contact drills.
He said he felt pretty good, but acknowledged he is not up to speed.
"My conditioning is not good at all," a sweat-drenched Williams said. "I'm just going to try to ease back into it."