Tuesday, July 31, 2001
Patterson signs offer sheet with Blazers
SEATTLE -- Ruben Patterson, the No. 3 scorer for the Seattle
SuperSonics, signed an offer sheet with the Portland Trail Blazers
Patterson has pleaded guilty to a sexual offense and recently
served a 15-day sentence on home detention. If he would have stayed
with the Sonics, he would have had to register as a sex offender in
But an Oregon state police spokeswoman said Patterson still would be required to register in Oregon. The spokeswoman said Patterson is required to notify Washington that he will register in his new state within 10 days of becoming a resident there. If Patterson does not register within the 10 days, he will become a C felon for failing to register as a criminal. Patterson also must re-register every year within 10 days of his birth date.
The Sonics could have matched the Blazers' offer because the
6-foot-5 forward was a restricted free agent. But they chose not to
sign him to a sign-and-trade deal.
"The Sonics have no intention of exercising our matching rights
on this offer," Seattle general manager Rick Sund said. "This
will clear additional cap room space for the Sonics to pursue free
agents. Ruben has made on-court contributions to the Sonics in the
past two seasons and we wish him well."
Sund told The Associated Press in an interview later Monday that
the Sonics never intended to sign and trade Patterson, a three-year
veteran who was drafted 31st by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1998.
Sund said Patterson's departure was actually an advantage.
"We've decided that the best situation is the free agent market
and this gives us more financial room," Sund said. "If we sign a
free agent in the near future for next season, then it's a pretty
Patterson's off-court troubles were certainly a factor in his
leaving the Sonics.
"We said from the beginning that there was an issue," Sund
The Sonics missed making the playoffs last season with a 44-38
record. Since the end of the season, center Patrick Ewing, guard
Emanual Davis, forward Jelani McCoy and now Patterson have left.
Also Monday, the team waived forward Ruben Wolkowyski, a power
forward from Argentina who was highly touted by the Sonics but had
trouble adjusting to the NBA game. He played one season, averaging 2.2 points in limited playing time.
In the NBA draft in June, the team added forward Vladimir
Radmanovic, guard Earl Watson and center Predrag Drobnjak.
The Sonics are looking for a starting center in free agency to
"We're looking primarily at frontcourt players," Sund said.
All-Star point guard Gary Payton and former All-Star power
forward Vin Baker remain on the Sonics' roster, but that could
"Nobody on our team is an untouchable," Sund said.
Patterson averaged 13.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 27.1 minutes a
game last season.
He is from Cleveland and also spoke with the Cavaliers.
Patterson entered a modified guilty plea to a third-degree rape
charge involving his children's nanny. He was charged with forcing
the family's 24-year-old nanny to perform oral sex. He was
sentenced May 15 and still faces a civil suit from the nanny.
Under his plea, Patterson did not admit guilt but agreed a jury
might convict him.