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Campbell signs with the Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Elden Campbell wanted a chance to play for a contender. So he chose the Detroit Pistons.

The free-agent center signed a two-year, $8.4 million contract late Friday, spurning other teams that could have offered him more money.

"I'm blessed to be in a situation where I don't have to think of money first," Campbell said Saturday at a news conference. "There were other teams that wanted me, but Detroit gives me a chance to play on a contending team that has a chance to jump right into the NBA Finals. I didn't want to be in a situation where it would be two or three years before they were ready to contend."

Campbell is expected to come off the bench as a backup to Ben Wallace and Mehmet Okur. The Pistons also have first-round pick Darko Milicic and Zeljko Rebraca, creating a logjam inside that president Joe Dumars said will be fixed.

"I think it is fair to say that we will be making some efforts to alleviate that situation," he said. "Those are the type of things that generally take care of themselves."

Part of that solution will depend on the health of Rebraca, who missed much of last season with heart problems. He is expected to undergo surgery to fix an irregular heartbeat, but Dumars said the team will not know definitively until Monday.

As for Campbell, Dumars is extremely pleased with his decision to join the Pistons.

"Elden Campbell is one of the gentlemen of the NBA and a player that definitely fits in with the type of people we are bringing in here," Dumars said. " He also fills some needs that we have — low-post offense and rebounding.

"I consider this a great signing. I think we have improved our team without taking any kind of backward step."

Last season, Campbell averaged just 6.1 points and 3.2 rebounds in 56 games with Seattle and New Orleans.

The 7-foot, 280-pound Campbell played in the 1991 NBA Finals as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers and has averaged 11 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in his 13-year career.

"I had some injuries last year and I probably came back too quickly," Campbell said. "Then I got into a bad situation in Seattle where I just didn't fit in with what they were doing. I'm anxious to get a fresh start."