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Anderson accepts blame for current woes

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 20 2004 12:00 a.m. MDT

Former Jazzman Shandon Anderson takes much of the blame upon himself for the situation he's in with the New York Knicks right now.

New York newspapers have reported that Anderson was told by president of basketball operations Isiah Thomas to stay home from training camp, then Thomas realized he shouldn't do that and allowed Anderson to be with the team though he is reportedly trying to trade him and his three-year, $24 million contract.

Part of the problem, the papers said, was that Anderson did not report for his exit interview with Thomas and coach Lenny Wilkens last spring.

"Yeah. It's a long story. I did (not attend)," said Anderson on Tuesday night following a 113-89 Jazz whipping of the Knicks in an exhibition game in the Delta Center. Anderson played the second quarter and made his only shot attempt, a 3-pointer, and had one turnover in 12 minutes.

"I have to admit my faults," Anderson said. "I did that. It was my fault, but it's a long year. At the time, it felt like the right decision."

"He blew off an exit interview with the general manager and myself, which is something that you shouldn't do," said Wilkens, "but I haven't penalized him in any way for that. He's part of the team. He had a good camp. He worked hard, and I don't think I've treated him any different than any other player."

Wilkens insisted he does not dislike Anderson. "Well, that's not true," he said when asked if if he didn't care for the swingman who began his career with Utah in 1996-97. "When I go to camp," said Wilkens, "what I'm trying to do is go to camp and put together the best combination I can. If I didn't like him, why would I start him as many games as I did last year? That doesn't make any sense."

But the exit interview thing was clearly the tip of an iceberg.

"There's a lot of things that happened," said Anderson. "I won't go into detail. I have to stick with that (decision) and the consequences that come with that."

While he owned up to doing something detrimental to his career last spring, Anderson insisted that he doesn't dislike Utah, even though he left after three seasons here and few locals could understand why.

"It was just for longevity, trying to get a longer contract," Anderson said of his move to Houston for a season-plus and then finding himself in New York with former Jazz management like Scott Layden and Dave Checketts, who moved on and Thomas took over.

"Sometimes things work out, and (sometimes) they don't. Think about it: We only play for a certain amount of years in our lives, so we have to find that security to live our lives once we're finished," Anderson said.

He said he values his time here.

"Oh, it's at the top (of his career), without a doubt," he said. "What we did my three years here, we won more games than anybody in the NBA. And just the knowledge that I got of the game, not only from the coaching staff but from the players, Jeff (Hornacek), Karl (Malone), John (Stockton)."


E-mail: lham@desnews.com

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