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  • Friday, February 11, 2000

    Raptors-Celtics trade rescinded

     TORONTO (CP) -- Alvin Williams is a Toronto Raptor once again.

     The Raptors dealt the point guard, along with seldom-used centre Sean Marks, to the Boston Celtics for power forward Danny Fortson on Wednesday. But the deal was rescinded Friday after Williams failed a physical.

     "Alvin did have minor knee problems in the past and he did have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee after we acquired him from Portland two years ago," said Raptors general manager Glen Grunwald. "But it has never affected his ability to play.

     "He has not missed a game since then due to any kind of knee injury and has, in fact, been a regular starter for the Raptors over the last two seasons."

     Grunwald said he didn't knowingly deal Boston damaged goods.

     "We tried to do as much as we could before the trade happened," he said. "We sent over all the medical records we had, we had our doctor talk to their doctor and it was my understanding that everything was going to be fine."

     The Celtics obviously thought otherwise.

     "It's their decision (to nullify deal) and we will move forward," Grunwald said.

     Williams appeared in 102 games with Toronto, including 76 as a starter, and averaged 5.3 points and 19 minutes per game. He lost his starting job last month to veteran Doug Christie.

     "Both Alvin and Sean are good players and individuals of great character," Grunwald said. "It was a difficult decision to trade them in the first place and we are happy to have them back with the club."

     With the NBA's Feb. 24 trade deadline looming, either Williams or Marks could soon be on the move again. But while Grunwald said he has nothing imminent brewing, he won't hesitate to pull the trigger on another deal.

     "There is still two weeks before the deadline. If I can improve the team, that is what I'm going to do," he said.

     The six-foot-seven, 260-pound Fortson was expected to add some muscle to the Raptors' brawny frontcourt, joining veterans Antonio Davis, Charles Oakley and Kevin Willis in the post. But the 23-year-old, who missed the first 25 games of the season with a foot injury, never got the chance.

     Fortson has averaged 5.9 points and five rebounds in 23 games since returning from injury. A former first-round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1997, Forston entered the season with career averages of 10.9 points and 7.9 rebounds.

     Fortson was unavailable for comment Friday. But on Thursday, the former Cincinnati Bearcat told the Toronto Star that he was anxious to settle down somewhere after being dealt for the third time in as many seasons.

     "I just want to sit down for 10 minutes; I'm sick of this," he told the newspaper. "I'd like to be somewhere where I don't have to worry about packing my bags and leaving.

     "I don't want to be a journeyman. I'm only 23."

     Fortson becomes a free agent at season's end.

     Williams's return creates a dilemma for Toronto, which already has Christie, Dell Curry, newly acquired Haywoode Workman and Muggsy Bogues all vying for playing time at guard.

     And then there's the matter of Williams's psyche, which could be jilted as a result of being traded.

     "I talked to Alvin and he's fine about it, the same with Sean Marks," Grunwald said. "Alvin is a tough guy, he understands the situation.

     "I don't think it will be a problem because Alvin is a great person and we've got good guys in our locker-room."



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