Blazers sign center Theo Ratliff to contract extension

Originally Published: September 28, 2004
Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland Trail Blazers have signed center Theo Ratliff to a three-year contract extension.

Ratliff, who has led the league in blocked shots for the past two seasons, played 32 games with the Blazers last season after he was acquired from the Atlanta Hawks with Shareef Abdur-Rahim for forward Rasheed Wallace.

With the Blazers, the 6-foot-10, 235-pound Ratliff averaged 7.3 points and 7.3 rebounds, along with an all-time franchise-best 4.41 blocks per game. He had 141 blocked shots in Portland.

For the season, Ratliff averaged 7.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and a league-leading 3.61 blocks per game.

Ratliff, who quickly endeared himself to the Portland fans, provided a defensive spark for the Blazers. But it came too late as the team failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 22 seasons.

"I'm very happy to be here. My family and I decided that this was a city we wanted to stay in. I think we have great talent on this team and we can go far. It's a great team and a great city," Ratliff said.

He blocked six or more shots 12 times last season, and tied Bill Walton and Mychal Thompson for the franchise record for most blocks in one game when he had nine against Orlando on Feb. 2, 2004.

Ratliff, who had one year left on his existing contract, was the 18th overall pick in the 1995 draft by the Detroit Pistons. He has averaged 8.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.81 blocks.

Financial terms of the deal were not immediately released. Ratliff and the Blazers announced the extension at a news conference outside the Rose Garden Arena.

"From the time he arrived in Portland, we identified with Theo's superior play on the floor and his lifestyle and character off the court as a member of the Portland community," Blazers general manager John Nash said.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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