PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Derek Anderson took $2.25 million to play for the San Antonio Spurs last season, with the expectation that they would improve his contract this summer. When he started to feel they were being disloyal to him, Anderson committed to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Portland landed one of the biggest free-agent prizes in the NBA on Friday, almost by accident. Realizing Anderson had reached an impasse with the Spurs, the Blazers lured Anderson away with only the promise of their $4.5 million mid-level salary-cap exception.
Anderson's six-year deal, with an opt-out clause after five years, would be worth up to $34 million, but he could earn more if the Blazers and Spurs can work out a sign-and-trade deal. Negotiations probably won't begin until early next week, said Anderson's agent, Tony Dutt said.
"We sure would like to help them (the Spurs) out if we can, and at the same time it would be helping Derek out with a sign-and-trade," Dutt said.
Steve Smith, who started last season at shooting guard for Portland, but later lost his job to Bonzi Wells, likely would be part of such a trade. Wells seriously injured his left knee late in the season and is trying to get ready for training camp in early October.
Also Friday, the Blazers -- who had a league-record $89.7 million payroll, more than $54 million above the cap -- shed $4.4 million in salary by trading Greg Anthony to Chicago and letting free agent Stacey Augmon go to Charlotte.
Anderson, a four-year veteran who also spent time with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers, was the Spurs' second-leading scorer last season with a 15.5 average.
He negotiated with the Spurs for the past two weeks, and the team sweetened its offer from $36 million for five years to $43 million for six, but the deal was laden with incentives, and only 25 percent of his salary in the final year would have been guaranteed. The final straw for Anderson came when the team gave him a deadline of 2 p.m. Friday to accept the offer.
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