The Portland Trail Blazers acquired veteran power forward Buck Williams from the New Jersey Nets Saturday in exchange for oft-injured center-forward Sam Bowie and the 12th pick in Tuesday's NBA draft.
The 6-foot-8, 225-pound Williams averaged 16.4 points and 11.9 rebounds per game in eight professional seasons and has appeared in three NBA All-Star Games.Bowie, who has missed much of his professional and college career with broken bones in both legs, played in 20 games last season after recovering from a broken right tibia suffered in November of 1986.
He averaged 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds after returning to the team last season.
"What's so interesting about the trade was that Portland was able to keep its sarting lineup intact and still add a quality player," Williams said.
"It's always difficult to leave your first love," he said. "I just hope Portland is my new love. I'm just very happy that the trade rumors are behind me now."
Williams, chosen by New Jersey as the third selection in the 1981 draft, has been coveted by the Trail Blazers for some time, but they were never able to make a deal until Saturday.
"We've been trying to do something but the price had always been one of our nucleus (of top players)," Bucky Buckwalter, the Blazers' vice president for player personnel said. "To get him without giving up one of our starters, we felt good about that."
Buckwalter said Williams' leadership ability was a big reason for making the trade.
"He's a no-nonsense guy and I think we need that on this team," Buckwalter said. "He's also an established power forward. That's really what this team is missing."
Williams, 29, played in the All-Star Game as a rookie in 1982 and again in 1983 and 1986. The former Maryland star was part of the 1980 Olympic team that didn't compete because of the U.S. boycott of the Moscow Games.
He was a second team all-NBA selection in 1983 and a second-team member of the league's all-defensive team in 1988.
Williams was 11th in the league in rebounding last season at 9.4 per game and 13th in field goal percentage at .531. He averaged 13 points while appearing in 72 games.
Buckwalter said he didn't feel Williams' age was a detriment.
"I think he's coming into a period when, with a new team particularly and some other established players, he will really blossom in the next few years," Buckwalter said. "He's always played every night. He's always played hard."
Williams has only missed 20 games in his NBA career.
Buckwalter said Williams would come to Portland on Monday.