- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 26, 2002

Richard Hamilton is not one to dwell on what might have been, which is why the hard feelings he had toward the Washington Wizards after they dealt him to Detroit over the summer are "history" and "old news."
"With everything in life you get to a point where you have to move on and accept where you are," Hamilton said. "I'm with Detroit, and things are going very well here. Washington was good, but that's in the past for me now."
Not today, though.
Hamilton, sent to the Pistons (18-9) for Jerry Stackhouse in a six-player trade, will make the first of two MCI Center appearances this season tonight when he will face the team that drafted him seventh overall in 1999 and routinely told him he was an integral part of its future.
Hamilton's initial attitude, however, was different after the Wizards (12-15) dealt him when his agent informed them he wanted a multiyear, multimillion dollar extension.
"I gave the Wizards everything I could over three years, and I always heard about how I was going to be a huge part of the future with them," he said. "That's why when I heard that I was traded I was kind of upset. But this is the NBA.
"What you hear and what eventually happens aren't always the same thing."
After last season when he developed what Wizards coach Doug Collins referred to as "potentially" the most dangerous midrange game in the NBA Hamilton had every reason to believe he would not only be a part of the Wizards' turnaround, but the centerpiece.
He averaged a career-high 20 points, and at times the slender 6-foot-6 guard seemed all but unstoppable. Although he often shared the spotlight with Michael Jordan, Jordan himself made it known he was quite comfortable in the role of "Tonto" to Hamilton's "Lone Ranger."
But when the Wizards dealt him without even broaching the possibility of an extension, Hamilton learned quickly about life in the NBA.
"You see guys, you play with guys who get traded all the time. That's just the way it is," Hamilton said. "But you don't think that a team that is saying so many good things about you will trade you. That was foolish."
The trade has worked out just fine for Hamilton, who is unequivocally the first option in coach Rick Carlisle's offense.
This was never on display more than in a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers last week. Hamilton sat out almost the entire fourth quarter and suffered through a horrible shooting night, but Carlisle still entrusted Hamilton with the final shot in regulation. Although he failed to get a shot off before the shot clock expired in a game the Pistons ultimately won in overtime, Carlisle said he has no plans of going away from Hamilton in those situations in the future.
"He is going to be in those situations a lot," Carlisle said. "This was a good one to learn from."
Still, Hamilton is not motivated by what could have been in Washington. Rather, he is more motivated to avenge an 88-83 home loss to the Wizards on Dec. 4.
"We're playing pretty well right now, and the Wizards are shooting for the playoffs," said Hamilton, who admits he keeps up with the Wizards. "They beat us at our place last time. We'd love to return the favor."

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