That's a Rap for Williams

A fan favourite in Toronto, Alvin Williams was bought out of his contract yesterday. (Toronto Sun...

A fan favourite in Toronto, Alvin Williams was bought out of his contract yesterday. (Toronto Sun File/Craig Robertson)

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

Just over five years after he hit what may have been the biggest shot in Raptors history, point guard Alvin Williams was hit with his walking papers yesterday.

The longest-serving Raptor, whose bad knees kept him off the court for all but one game the past two seasons, reached a settlement with the club for the final two years of his contract and subsequently was released. Williams, 31, whose clutch jump shot at Madison Square Garden in 2001 basically sealed the franchise's only playoff series win against the New York Knicks, hopes to earn a shot at training camp with another NBA club.

The agreement gives Raptors president/general manager Bryan Colangelo salary-cap flexibility. Only about half of the remaining $14 million US on Williams' deal will count towards the cap.

Williams, acquired by the Raptors on Feb. 13, 1998 in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers, knew this day was coming for some time. When he asked coach Sam Mitchell if he could play toward the end of last season, he was told to speak to Colangelo, who didn't want him to play.

"At that point, that's when I realized basically ... it was more of a business thing," said Williams, perhaps hinting the Raptors couldn't have achieved the salary cap savings if he had played more last season. "At that point, when the head coach told me to ask the GM if I could be activated, that's when I basically knew it was a done deal."

The announcement of Williams' release came just before Fred Jones' signing of a three-year, $11-million US deal with the Raptors became official. Jones, like Williams, wears No. 20, and he posed for pictures with a Raptors No. 20 jersey.

"It's not awkward," said Williams, who spoke to the media on a teleconference from his home in Philadelphia. "It's the business of the NBA. It's a fresh start for myself and a fresh start for Toronto. Basically, my attitude is a 'whatever' attitude."

The release of Williams and the imminent signing of Slovenian forward Uros Slokar will put the Raptors' roster at 14 players, leaving them room for one more. That very well could be veteran point guard Darrick Martin, who was a good influence in the dressing room last season. Colangelo said he will enter the season with about $2 million in cap flexibility, leaving him room to make changes if necessary.

As for Williams, he said he loves Toronto and will miss the fans "dearly" but is disappointed. Colangelo said there is a possibility of Williams working for the Raptors in some capacity when his playing career ends, but that doesn't ease the blow.

"Basically, I still wanted to play for the Toronto Raptors if I could have one more chance, give it one last chance," Williams said. "Hopefully, I'll get on with another team and continue playing. If not, I look forward to doing other things in life."

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MISSING IN ACTION

- Alvin Williams' most recent full season with the Raptors was 2001-02, the last time the team made the playoffs:

YEAR
GP
MISSED
2002-03
78
4
2003-04
56
26
2004-05
0
82
2005-06
1
81
Combined
135
193

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