PORTLAND, Ore. — Derek Anderson says the San Antonio Spurs lied to him. The team said he broke his word about re-signing with them. No matter what was promised to whom, Anderson is now with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Anderson was traded to the Blazers on Wednesday for Steve Smith in an exchange of shooting guards, a deal brought on when Anderson rejected a six-year, $42 million offer from the Spurs last week and immediately committed to Portland.
"My loyalty is with the people who are going to be loyal to me," Anderson said during a news conference at the Rose Garden.
The Spurs also included guard Steve Kerr in the deal, which will pay Anderson $48 million over six years.
Anderson signed a one-year deal last season for $2.25 million, with the understanding that he would be rewarded with a long-term contract starting in the $8 million range. Team officials said they had a verbal agreement from Anderson to accept their offer last week.
Anderson, however, was insulted that the deal wasn't fully guaranteed in the final season. When team officials gave him a deadline of 2 p.m. Friday, he and agent Tony Dutt committed to Portland.
"I just think they're in a situation where they have to look at themselves in the mirror and say, 'What in the world were we thinking?' Because I did nothing negative to them," Anderson said of the Spurs.
"I don't buy into the 'Aw, it's a business, people lie to you.' You don't have to lie to me; tell me the truth and move on."
In a separate news conference in San Antonio, Spurs assistant general manager R.C. Buford responded, "Contract negotiations in team sports happen all the time, and I'm not sure that anything here happened differently than they would most places."
Before the sign-and-trade deal was struck Wednesday, Anderson was prepared to accept the Blazers' mid-level salary-cap exception, which would have paid him $33.8 million over six years — far less than what he stood to earn with the Spurs.
San Antonio reportedly didn't want to make the trade but risked getting nothing in return for Anderson.
Now they get Smith, whose knees are questionable and who lost his starting job to Bonzi Wells last season. Smith also had been pushing the Blazers for a contract extension, on top of the $19 million he's due to earn over the next two years.
When he heard that Blazers general manager Bob Whitsitt was courting Anderson, Smith demanded to be traded.
"I'm happy to get the chance to go to the Spurs," Smith said Wednesday. "When you get traded or ask to be traded, you never now where you are going to end up. If you had to pick an organization or a team that fits for me and what I stand for, the Spurs were right there on the top of my list."
Buford added, "We're thrilled that this has happened. It's another piece that puts us right back in contention for a championship."
Smith averaged 13.6 points last season and seemed to play better after going to the bench. He regained his starting spot after Wells injured his left knee late in the season, but the Blazers stumbled to an 8-17 record in the final six weeks, capped by a three-game playoff sweep by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Anderson nearly became a Blazer last summer, when he was leaving the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent. But the deal fell through and Anderson signed with the Spurs. Anderson said he didn't forget how honest Whitsitt was during their talks.
"He was very up-front and stuck by me, and I think that's why I came," Anderson said.
He averaged 15.5 points last season, and his outside shot improved. A career 28 percent shooter from 3-point range before last season, he made nearly 40 percent of his 3-pointers in 2000-01.
Anderson likely will start at shooting guard for the Blazers, with Wells backing him up after he recovers from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Kerr, who has two years left on a contract that pays him $2.4 million a year, will be the third-string point guard, behind Damon Stoudamire and Erick Barkley.