Blazers Notebook: Wallace cheered in return to ‘Rip City’

By Matt Calkins, Columbian Sports Reporter

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PORTLAND — A New Jersey Nets forward got a big ovation from the Rose Garden crowd when introduced before the game.

Believe it or not, it wasn’t Kris Humphres.

About three weeks after the Trail Blazers traded him away, Gerald Wallace returned to Portland and was greeted with cheers from appreciative fans. One even held a sign reading “Rip City Loves Wallace.”

But is the feeling mutual?

Wallace said before the game that what he remembered most about playing in Portland was the fans. However, this was also the guy who set out to obliterate the Bobcats after he dealt him.

So what his reaction to this most recent trade?

“I was kind of shocked. I didn’t see it coming. I was kind of surprised about it,” Wallace said. “I was happy (in Portland). I was disappointed I was traded, but at the same time it’s a chance to go in a different direction.”

Wallace added that he was surprised to see Nate McMillan canned, though admitted that this season with the Blazers was tumultuous. However, when asked for specifics regarding what went wrong, Wallace offered little.

“I have no clue,” he said. “You’ll have to ask them that.”

Wallace said that he still communicates with current Blazers and finds himself checking box scores. He added that he had no personal vendetta against the club and had no extra incentive to beat Portland.

‘De-ron’ appears

Deron Williams sat out Wednesday due to a stomach virus, but still made his presence felt pre-game.

A Portland reporter asked him a rather innocuous question about a Blazer, to which Williams responded, “Why don’t you ask him that?”

The reporter tried to explain, but Williams cut him off and brusquely said, “I don’t talk before the games.” When the reporter asked, “Do you at least know what I’m saying?” Williams was again stand-offish and said, “No, I don’t.”

Nets guard Jordan Farmar said that this particular version of Williams was “De-Ron,” the darker persona of Deron (pronounced Dare-in.)

Williams later said, “This guy is asking dumb questions” loud enough so that the reporter could hear.

He will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

Canales out of loop

Blazers interim coach Kaleb Canales does not talk about much other than basketball, so nobody should have expected much when this question was presented to him before the game.

“Let’s get serious for a second. Which side do you fall in on the Kris Humprhies vs. Kim Kardashian divorce?”

Canales paused for about five seconds, smiled, then said, “My focus is on the game.”

No word on whether he recorded the show.

Matt Calkins can be contacted at 360-735-4528 or matt.calkins@columbian.com