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02-20-2003, 07:45 AM
NBA Trading Day
by Chad Ford
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This just in. . .

Pat Riley was just sent a thank you note by Nextel Wireless. Juwan Howard has gone into hiding. He was last seen with Chris Gatling. League sources say the Knicks are offering to send Scott Layden back to Utah. A breathless N.Y. Times headline declares that the Jazz have shot the Knicks' offer down. Hubie Brown just blamed the internet for the Mike Miller-Drew Gooden swap. Jerry Krause refused to confirm or deny the exisitence of the "so-called trade deadline." Phil Jackson turned down a Tracy McGrady for Robert Horry, Tracy Murray and Samaki Walker swap, citing fears that McGrady won't be able to pick up the triangle quick enough. Cavs GM Jim Paxson is talking with the Benetton Treviso about a Trajan Langdon-for-Ricky Davis swap. The Pacers promise to include Larry Bird in any Austin Croshere trade. Donald Sterling just sold his Clippers season tickets.

A 12-team blockbuster trade involving Joe Forte, Terence Morris, Cherokee Parks, Eddie House, Felipe Lopez, Robert Traylor, Lee Nailon, Kenny Satterfield, Jake Tsakalidis, DeShawn Stevenson, Bruno Sundov and Bobby Simmons works if you do the math. However, one GM, speaking on conditions of anonymity, declared the whole trade "overrated."

Mark Cuban claimed there was a 99.9 percent chance that the Mavs won't make a trade unless they're offered Brian Grant, Latrell Sprewell, Antonio Davis, Austin Croshere, Keith Van Horn, Vin Baker or anyone else for that matter.

It's the trade deadline, baby. The crap coming from teams smells a lot like the Cavs and the Nuggets. The truth, as Orlando and Memphis reminded us Wednesday night, is that if you hold out long enough, good trades can still happen in the NBA. And sometime after the 3 p.m. ET deadline we can all go to bed. . .

Until then, ESPN Insider breaks down what is and isn't going down as we head into the homestretch. . .

Are the Magic done dealing?

It took Magic GM John Gabriel only eight months to pull the trigger on the Mike Miller-to-the-Grizzlies trade. Can he really pull off another deal in the next six hours? That was the talk late Wednesday night after Gabriel finally got a legit young power forward. As you already know, Grizzlies GM Jerry West had been trying to get Miller since draft night. The holdup all along was that he was offering Stromile Swift, a player Magic coach Doc Rivers liked but Gabriel wasn't fond of.

Just a few weeks ago West agreed to put Gordan Giricek into the deal. However, it wasn't until Wednesday afternoon that West finally decided that Gooden, his first pick with the Grizzlies, was worth Miller. One Eastern Conference GM felt that Memphis got the best end of the deal.

"I like Drew Gooden, but I think he's a tweener," one Eastern Conference GM told Insider. "If Jerry really liked him, he wouldn't have traded him, logjam or no logjam. Memphis needed a true small forward and I think Miller was probably the best one available. It's an interesting trade for Orlando. What the really needed was some athleticism, rebounding and shot blocking in the post. Gooden is tall, but he's not what they needed. They may have been better off taking Swift. I think Gooden will struggle without a true big man in the middle."

Apparently, the Magic feel the same way. Several league sources told Insider late Wednesday night that the Magic were still working the phones, looking for a center. The bait? Darrell Armstrong and Andrew DeClercq.

Much of the talk centers on Golden State, which has been trying to move several big contracts off the books so that it can re-sign Gilbert Arenas this summer. According to several league sources, the Magic are interested in swapping DeClercq and Steven Hunter for Adonal Foyle. However, the Warriors would prefer to rid themselves of Erick Dampier. To make that deal work financially, the Magic would have to give up Armstrong and DeClercq.

The concern on the Magic's end is that the team would struggle to make the playoffs without a solid backup for Jacque Vaughn. Armstrong is also one of the most popular players on the team. It would be a major blow to lose him. It's possible, however, that the Warriors would agree to waive Armstrong after the trade. That would allow the Magic to re-sign Armstrong after he cleared waivers.

Foyle and Dampier aren't the only big men the Magic have inquired about. They've also talked with the Nuggets about Marcus Camby, the Hornets about Elden Campbell, the Blazers about Dale Davis and the Sonics about Jerome James. While none of these players is a perfect solution, each one would be a big upgrade over the Magic's current corps of big men.

The blockbuster that got away . . .

Warriors head coach Eric Musselman is no stranger to big trades. Musselman used to pull off some whoppers when he was the GM of the CBA's Rapid City (S.D.) Thrillers. "[The trade deadline] doesn't affect me at all," Musselman told the Contra Costa Times. "In the CBA, we'd trade six guys at a time. I traded nine guys out of 10 when I was the GM in Rapid City." Too bad we're not in the CBA. Musselman told reporters Wednsday night that he's no longer confident the Warriors can get a deal done by the trade deadline. But, boy, was his team sitting on the crest of a doozy.

Several team sources confirmed to Insider on Wednesday that a five-team trade involving the Warriors, Knicks, Sixers, Magic and Pacers was actually in the works until the Knicks and Magic pulled out of the deal Wednesday morning.

The trade would've sent Erick Dampier and Austin Croshere to the Knicks; the Pacers would've gotten Charlie Ward, Brian Skinner and Mark Pope; the Magic would've received Danny Fortson and Othella Harrington; the Sixers would've had Adonal Foyle and Bob Sura; and the Warriors would've received Andrew DeClercq, Darrell Armstrong, Travis Knight and Derrick Coleman. That move, in one fell swoop, would've cleared nearly $20 million off the Warriors' cap for next season.

According to several sources, the Pacers, who are desperate to move Croshere, were the team initiating the discussions, and the Warriors and Sixers quickly signed on. However, Knicks GM Scott Layden couldn't be convinced despite the fact that the trade was landing him a coveted big man and big small forward. The salaries were too much for owner James Dolan to swallow and Layden backed down. The Magic were never fully on board either. The Magic weren't enamored with Fortson. They were hoping to land a younger, cheaper player to play in the post. When talks began heating up with Memphis about the Mike Miller-for-Drew Gooden swap, things quickly fell apart.

Still, it's possible that remnants of this deal may still go down. The Magic are talking to the Warriors about a possible Dampier-for-DeClerq-and-Armstrong swap. The Warriors are also still holding out hope (though it looks pretty slim right now) that the Sixers will still pull the trigger on a Coleman-for-Foyle-and-Fortson (or Sura) trade. If they could get both of those trades to happen, the team would clear enough cap room to make a significant offer for Gilbert Arenas this summer.
Unfortunately, Sixers coach Larry Brown sounded like the Sixers were no longer willing to deal. "If you had asked me two weeks ago, I would have said definitely [about the likelihood of making a trade]," Brown told the Philadelphia Daily News. "Now, I'd say it's doubtful. I don't want to do it for the sake of doing it." The Pacers are also praying that the Knicks will agree to swap Ward straight up for Croshere. However, if Layden's no longer able to take on bad contracts (the only thing he's ever done really well), there's no way the Knicks can pull the trigger.

Turning down the Heat

After some hot and heavy Eddie Jones trade talk on Tuesday, it looks like trade discussions cooled significantly for the Heat on Wednesday.

Talks between the Bulls and Heat, according to several league sources, ended Wednesday afternoon. The Bulls and Heat were discussing a Jones-for-Marcus Fizer-, Jamal Crawford-and-Eddie Robinson swap. Bulls GM Jerry Krause seemed to confirm as much. "I just haven't heard the right words yet," Krause told the Chicago Tribune. "If we hear the right words, there will be some action, but if we don't hear the right words, there won't be any action. It's that simple. A year ago today, we heard the right words from Indiana.

"I don't feel a sense of urgency. If we don't hear the right words, I'm satisfied this team will develop into a very good team."

The T-Wolves were still trying to get the Heat to accept a Terrell Brandon-for-Jones deal, but Wolves coach Flip Saunders doesn't sound optimistic that the Heat will agree to pull the trigger. "He could help [us], but I just don't think that's a viable option," Saunders told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "When you look at Pat [Riley], no matter what, he wants to win. It would be pretty tough to convince him to take somebody who's not going to play ... and say, we'll wait a year, and then he'll get off the books next [February] so not this summer but the next summer we can sign somebody. Well, what are you going to do in the meantime?"

Unfortunately, for the Heat, they might not have a much better option. If they don't move either Jones or Brian Grant, they'll be stuck with the same cap issues for the next four seasons.

The other prominent Heat trade talk, mentioned on Insider Wednesday, has the Heat and Mavs talking about a Grant-for-Nick Van Exel-and-Travis Best trade. So did the Mavs or the Heat initiate the trade talk? It depends on who you ask.

Sources in Miami claim that it's the Mavs calling the Heat. A source in Dallas claims that the Heat are the ones making a push to get a trade done. While some league sources insist that this is a trade that could happen, consider this: Neither side is convinced that the trade will really help them. If that's the case, why do it?

Riley remained noncommittal on everything.

"We've obviously had conversations," Riley told the Sun Sentinel. "I don't want to get into talk." However, Riley said general manager Randy Pfund "doesn't think much is going to happen."

Drbio
02-20-2003, 09:07 AM
I doubt we make a trade. Thanks again for the articles OP!

madape
02-20-2003, 09:48 AM
Hmmmmmmm.... Cuban broke up the 5 team trade involving the Warriors. Very Very Very interesting to see the names that came up in that conversation. What on Earth could Cuban have done to throw a monkey wrench into that trade? The only thing he could have done is offer some team a better deal. This report says that the Knicks were the ones who backed out. Did Cuban foul it up by upping the ante for Sprewell? Perhaps by throwing in Bradley's name? Or did he finally make an offer for Croshere. I see that for the first time Croshere's name is tied to Dallas. More likely is that the Mavericks offered the Pacers a package better than Ward, Skinner, and Pope. Could it be that the long speculated AJ and Esch for Austin Croshere deal could actually be coming to fruition? We can only hope... and wait.

LRB
02-20-2003, 09:57 AM
Thanks for the article OP. I still wonder if this Miami deal is just Mark blowing smoke. I guess time will tell.

BrianJ
02-20-2003, 01:32 PM
that was funny when he said I once traded 9 out of my 10 players. That would be cool to see a team like the cavs to do the same thing. Imagine the fans thoughts( oh yeah there are no fans)