MINNEAPOLIS, July 23 -- The Minnesota Timberwolves finally got rid of troubled shooting guard Isaiah Rider Tuesday when they traded him and his legal problems to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for guard James Robinson, forward Bill Curley and a future first-round draft choice. The 25-year-old Rider, the fifth overall selection in the 1993 draft, led Minnesota in scoring last season by averaging 19.6 points in 75 games. He also averaged 4.1 rebounds and shot 46.4 percent from the field, but has had more than his share of problems off the court. Rider has been arrested three times since the conclusion of the NBA season, the latest coming last Wednesday on charges of gambling in public. The gambling misdemeanor could affect charges pending from a June 28 incident in which Rider and a companion were arrested with a small quantity of marijuana and four illegal cellular phones. Rider has a scheduled mid-August court date on those charges. 'The seriousness of it all isn't what it appears to be, but at the same time I have to learn from my mistakes and not get in those situations,' Rider said. 'I can definitely guarantee that will not happen again. ... I wish my ex-teammates good luck, there's no hard feelings there, for me at least.' Rider, who was born in Oakland and lives in Alameda, was also arrested in early June by Oakland police officers at a residence in Alameda on alleged rape charges. The charges were later dropped, after Rider was held overnight.
Timberwolves General Manager Kevin McHale has been trying to deal Rider since he assumed his post in May of 1995. 'I think a lot of people were saying, 'I bet you can't wait for the day you're rid of J.R. Rider',' said McHale. 'People on the street were telling me that. I think a change had to be made for our organization, a change probably had to be made for J.R. Rider. Sometimes change is good. 'I think in this case we wanted to go in a new direction and I think J.R. can go in a new direction. Hopefully the change will be healthy for both teams.' Rider said he looks forward to performing in front of sellout home crowds for the Trail Blazers. 'I'm happy to be here, I'm really pumped up,' Rider said of his new team. 'They are a winning organization, they've been in the playoffs the last 13 years, they have great fans. Every time I come here it reminds me of a college atmosphere, they get pumped up.' The Blazers has been active in the off-season. They shipped forward Harvey Grant and disgruntled point guard Rod Strickland to the Washington Bullets last Monday for guard Mitchell Butler and forward Rasheed Wallace. Portland also signed point guard Kenny Anderson to a seven-year contract worth $50 million. Both moves became official Tuesday night when the Bullets reportedly relieved Strickland of having to take a physical examination for them. Robinson averaged 8.5 points and 2.0 assists in 76 games with Portland. He was originally a first-round pick out of Alabama in 1993. Curley, who was originally drafted by San Antonio in the first round in 1994, did not play last season after having a bone fragment removed from his left ankle on Oct. 5.