- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 28, 2005

Free agent guard Juan Dixon, who led Maryland to a national championship in 2002 and went on to play a key role for three seasons with the Washington Wizards, will sign a contract with the Portland Trail Blazers when the NBA’s moratorium on signings is lifted.

“Juan reached the decision that he will sign with Portland as soon as he is allowed to do so by the NBA,” Dixon’s agent, Calvin Andrews, said yesterday.

Although the terms of Dixon’s contract were not disclosed, he reportedly will sign a three-year deal for about $8-9million. Dixon was courted by several other teams, including Miami, Indiana, Cleveland and Seattle.

With the Wizards’ flurry of acquisitions at the guard positions in the past month, it became clear Dixon, the 17th pick overall in the 2002 NBA Draft, would not be back next season.

First, Washington acquired Chucky Atkins and Caron Butler from the Los Angeles Lakers in the Kwame Brown deal. And last week the Wizards agreed to a five-year, $30million contract with Antonio Daniels, formerly of the Seattle SuperSonics.

Dixon averaged 8.2 points and 1.6 assists and shot 39.6 percent from the floor in three seasons with the Wizards.

Dixon averaged 11.3 points in last season’s playoffs. He scored a career-high 35 points in the fourth game of the first round as the Wizards evened their series with the Chicago Bulls. The Wizards went on to win the series 4-2, marking the franchise’s first trip to the second round of the playoffs in 23 seasons.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and just 164 pounds, Dixon was an All-American and the NCAA tournament MVP in 2002. He finished his career as the Terrapins’ all-time leading scorer with 2,269 points. He holds the school’s all-time 3-point record with 239 and is the only player in NCAA history to have collected more than 2,000 points, 300 steals and 200 3-pointers.

Dixon’s departure soon could be followed by the exit of former Maryland teammate Steve Blake. Blake, a restricted free agent, also has drawn interest from Cleveland and Miami among other teams.

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