Lakers Taking Chance On Rider

The Los Angeles Lakers, whose Dennis Rodman experiment was a miserable failure, added another NBA bad boy, Isaiah Rider.

Rider, whose constant tardiness caused him to clash with his coaches in Atlanta last season and Portland before that, signed with the Lakers on Friday. He was waived by the Hawks on March 17.

A 6-foot-5 guard, Rider provides the NBA champion Lakers, who have been attempting to trade Glen Rice, with another shooter.

Rider averaged 19.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists for Atlanta last season, near his career averages of 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists. He's a career 44 percent shooter from the field, including 35 percent from 3-point range.

Rider said he was grateful to Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, coach Phil Jackson and owner Jerry Buss for "having the faith in me to give me this opportunity."

"I'm looking forward to a new start in my career," Rider said in a statement released by the Lakers.

Rider, who complained last season that Atlanta coach Lenny Wilkens wasn't letting him fulfill his natural role as a scorer, played in just 60 games for the Hawks. Wilkens, who considered Rider a negative influence on the team, said pointedly, "I did not bring him here."

Wilkens resigned after the season.

Rider's career is checkered with suspensions. He missed 12 games during three seasons in Portland for infractions ranging from flagrant fouls to spitting on fans.

His history of NBA offenses dates back to his first pro practice with Minnesota in 1993, when he showed up late. Other problems have included convictions for marijuana possession and assault.

The Lakers signed Rodman during the 1998-99 season only to see him become a continuing distraction by showing up late to practices, among other lapses, and he finally was released.

But Kupchak and the Lakers obviously believe Jackson, who coached Rodman in Chicago, can deal with Rider.

"This was a great opportunity to get an experienced and very talented player and we're happy to have Isaiah join our team," Kupchak said. "His explosiveness and ability will help take some of the pressure off our other players, and with his youth and skills, he could be a great addition to this team for years to come."

"I've been a Lakers fan since I was a kid growing up in Oakland watching Magic and those Showtime teams," Rider said. "Now I'm excited to play with Shaq (O'Neal), Kobe (Bryant) and the rest of the guys and to hopefully get a championship ring next spring."

Riderwho played at UNLV, was taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves as the sixth player chosen in the 1993 NBA draft.

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