Williams hopeful of a trade

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

There is one member of the Raptors who was not sad to see former general manager Rob Babcock fired.

But not because he dislikes the man.

Forward Eric Williams has made it known for some time that he wants to be traded.

And you can't really blame him. Even though he's healthy, the veteran defensive specialist is getting very few minutes as the Raptors embark on their much heralded youth movement.

But what keeps Williams calm and collected despite his lack of playing time is his belief that Wayne Embry, the team's interim GM, will be able to pull the trigger on a move that will send him to another team.

Embry is a former Sporting News executive of the year who has enjoyed a respected 40-year career in the NBA as a player and builder.

"I think if Wayne calls, everybody listens," Williams said yesterday, prior to the Raptors tilt against the Sacramento Kings.

Unlike last season, when he railed against the Raptors for trading for him as part of the Vince Carter deal from the New Jersey Nets, Williams has maintained a positive facade around the locker room, despite his wish to be traded.

"I've been sitting around for two years now," said Williams, who has also missed a number of games in Toronto because of knee problems.

"But I know I have interest out there in the league. I know there are teams that can use what I bring to the game.

"I just know what direction this team is going. They're going with the younger guys and giving them as many minutes as they possibly can to develop of these guys."

In the meantime, Williams said he will continue to work hard in practice, partly to keep himself game-ready, but also to help with the development of the club's rookies, particularly Charlie Villanueva and Joey Graham.

Williams realizes it is tough to trade players in the NBA, where salaries have to match, so he is remaining patient, hoping things will work out.

"All the stars have to line up (for a trade to happen)," he said. "If the stars don't line up then I could be sitting on this bench for the rest of the year."

A scenario that would make him very unhappy.


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