OAKLAND, Calif. More than 13 years after Chris Webber demanded to leave the Golden State Warriors, the free-agent forward is all set to return.
Webber sent an e-mail to The Associated Press on Monday night confirming he will rejoin the Warriors and coach Don Nelson, who won a power struggle with the former No. 1 draft pick in their messy first stint with the franchise.
The five-time All-Star is expected to be with the Warriors when they visit Houston on Tuesday night, though it's uncertain whether he'll play. Golden State visits New Orleans on Wednesday before returning home to face Charlotte on Friday.
Nelson apparently masterminded the Warriors' decision to re-sign Webber, who hasn't played in the NBA this season, as a backup big man and offensive playmaker. Golden State spokesman Raymond Ridder said the club had no official announcement planned for Monday, but Nelson has spoken repeatedly about the team's hopes of signing Webber in recent days.
Just a few days after Chris Mullin said he planned no significant changes to the club with the NBA's second-most victories since mid-November, Nelson apparently convinced Golden State's top executive to take a chance on Webber. The power forward's diminished athleticism and uneven playoff performances convinced his hometown Pistons not to re-sign him last summer.
A slow-footed, soon-to-be 35-year-old big man with surgically repaired knees and a bad history with the head coach seems to be a terrible fit for the Warriors' harmonious team chemistry and their up-tempo style. But Nelson has done stranger things in his highly successful career.
"I'm afraid if we don't get him here, our team is not strong enough to be a playoff team," said Nelson, whose club is seventh in the conference at 27-18 after two months of largely outstanding play.
FLASH ACQUIRE GUARD: The Utah Flash have acquired guard Kevin Sweetwyne and waived center Aristide Sawadogo, general manager David Fredman announced Monday. Sweetwyne (6-3, 215) played his college ball at Idaho State. He played two seasons in the CBA with the Michigan Mayhem and in IBL last season with the Battle Creek Knights. Sweetwyne averaged 12.8 points and 4.1 rebounds for the Mayhem in 2004-05, 9.3 points, 2.7 assists and 2.2 rebounds in 2005-06.
"Kevin is a hard-nosed veteran who brings an element of toughness to our team," Fredman said. "With the addition of Kevin and Garry Hill-Thomas over the last week, we hopefully alter the personality of our club heading into a tough stretch of road games."
Acquired by Utah on Dec. 14, Sawadogo played in eight games for the Flash, averaging 5.0 minutes, 1.3 points and 1.3 rebounds. His top game was nine points and five rebounds in 19 minutes against Austin on Dec. 21.
Sweetwyne is expected to be in uniform when the Flash plays at Los Angeles today.