View Full Version : 76ers trade of Hunter rescinded

02-08-2006, 06:57 PM
Feb 8, 6:52 PM EST
AP Sports Writer

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A trade that would have sent Philadelphia 76ers center Steven Hunter to the New Orleans Hornets was rescinded Wednesday because of concerns over his physical condition.

The trade was originally announced last Wednesday and would have sent Hunter to the Hornets for second-round picks in the 2006 and 2007 draft. Instead, there were questions about Hunter's condition during a physical and the deal was in limbo.

The teams had extended the deadline several times so that New Orleans officials could analyze the results of Hunter's physical exam last Friday.

"Their doctor claimed something our doctor and another doctor did not view as significant," Sixers president Billy King said in a phone interview. "We were in the process of trying to get some assurances. We had some assurances, and it wasn't enough for them."

When asked whether he was angry and disappointed in New Orleans, King said, "I'll bite my tongue."

The 7-foot Hunter has averaged 4.9 points and 3.4 rebounds in 35 games with the 76ers this season.

He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in 2002 and missed 39 games while recovering from surgery. Citing medical privacy, the Hornets haven't said whether that injury was holding up the completion of the trade.

King wouldn't reveal what the holdup was. But he said the condition was nothing that forced Hunter to miss a game or practice in the last two years.

"None whatsoever," King said. "I was shocked when they told me there was a problem."

The Sixers played Wednesday night in Charlotte, and Hunter wasn't expected to rejoin the team until Thursday.

"The initial stages will be odd, but his teammates and coaches will welcome him back with open arms like everyone else," King said.

Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said he hoped Hunter would adjust quickly to returning to Philadelphia.

"He's familiar with the surroundings, so it's not like he's coming to a new place," Cheeks said. "You have to endure it, take it in, feel it a little bit and then come back and give us your best."

Hunter was projected to help out a front line that lost Chris Andersen last month for violating the league's drug policy.

Hunter was a first-round pick by Orlando in 2001 and played three seasons with the Magic and one with Phoenix before signing with Philadelphia as a free agent. King said he wasn't necessarily going to try and trade Hunter again before the Feb. 23 deadline.

"We were doing the deal because it gave us (salary) flexibility, but at this point in time, we're just trying to get him back on the court," King said.

There is some precedence to NBA trades being rescinded, once also involving the Sixers.

In 1997, a deal that would have sent Clarence Weatherspoon and Michael Cage to Boston for Dino Radja was nullified when Radja failed his physical and opted to play in Europe.

Most notably, Detroit traded Sean Elliott to Houston in 1994 for Matt Bullard and Robert Horry, only to have that deal fall through after Elliot failed a physical with the Pistons. Bullard and Horry were forced to return to the Rockets.