posted on Jul, 17 2003 @ 08:30 AM
John Nash was introduced Wednesday as the Trail Blazers' sixth general manager, taking control of a troubled team in need of an overhaul.
"Paul Allen has made it clear that he wants a team that both he and the city of Portland can be proud of," Nash said.
Nash, the former Philadelphia, Washington and New Jersey GM, was most recently a basketball analyst on the Philadelphia 76ers' post-game show.
The 56-year-old veteran manager replaces Bob Whitsitt, whose personnel moves angered many in the community. The team failed to win a championship with
the league's highest payroll and several notable players have had surly attitudes and legal problems.
Nash said he would not shy away from those problems.
"It would be my goal to make some changes before the season starts, but not change for the sake of change," he said.
One of the team's biggest problems has been Rasheed Wallace, who is most known for his tirades against referees and penchant for picking up
As Washington's GM, Nash drafted Wallace.
Nash has also been known for cleaning house. With the Nets, he swung a nine-player trade with Dallas and an eight-player trade with Philadelphia.
He also acquired Stephon Marbury. But none of the moves worked, and the Nets struggled until Nash left and Jason Kidd arrived.
Nash also performed a major makeover when he was with Washington, acquiring players such as Chris Webber, Rex Chapman and Scott Skiles.
The search for Whitsitt's replacement took longer than expected after New Jersey's Ed Stefanski, Detroit's John Hammond and Boston's Chris Wallace
turned down offers to join the Blazers.
When Steve Patterson took over as the new team president, the search slowed even further. Whitsitt stayed on to select Travis Outlaw in the first
round of last month's NBA draft.
Aside from Wallace, Nash has other ties to Portland. He worked in Philadelphia when Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks played there. He also hired Blazer
assistant Jim Lynam as head coach for Philadelphia and Washington.
The latest of many problems involving the team concerned Damon Stoudamire, fined $250,000 and suspended indefinitely for his third arrest in 16 months
on marijuana possession charges earlier this month.
During the past season, the Blazers have had several problems:
Wallace and Qyntel Woods also were arrested for marijuana possession.
Ruben Patterson was arrested for felony domestic assault, but charges were later dropped.
Bonzi Wells was suspended and fined for on-court fighting, and received the same punishment for spitting on an opponent.
Wallace was suspended and fined for threatening a referee after a game.
Zach Randolph was suspended and fined for punching Patterson during practice.