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OutletPass
06-25-2003, 08:48 AM
Draft Rumors: True lies, or a lot of Bull?
By Chad Ford
NBA Insider
Send an Email to Chad Ford Wednesday, June 25
Updated: June 25
9:21 AM ET


It's 2:13 a.m., and the phone rings with yet another GM who has a story to tell.


Michael Finley
Guard-Forward
Dallas Mavericks
Profile


2002-2003 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
69 19.3 5.8 3.0 .425 .861


"Are you up?" I am now.

"The Bulls are on the verge of a blockbuster. They're sending Donyell Marshall, Marcus Fizer, Eddie Robinson and the No. 7 pick to Dallas for Michael Finley."

Really?

Two hours earlier, the buzz had the Bulls sending Jalen Rose to Minnesota for Terrell Brandon and his expiring contract.

Juwan Howard
Power Forward
Denver Nuggets
Profile


2002-2003 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
77 18.4 7.6 3.0 .450 .803


A little before that came word that the Bulls weren't looking at a small forward anymore, because they were confident they were going to lock up Juwan Howard in free agency.

It isn't easy to connect the dots that late at night, but follow me for a second. Finley and Howard are Chicago natives, workout buddies in the summer, and they've both dreamed of playing for the Bulls one day.

GM John Paxson's goal is to win now. He wants to end the youth movement and begin surrounding Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry and Jamal Crawford with veterans.

He also needs to make sure he has enough cap space to re-sign those young guys when their contracts start expiring next year. That's why shipping off Rose makes a whole lot of sense.

By 2:30 a.m., with the dots loosely connected, John Paxson is looking like a genius.

A starting lineup of Crawford, Finley, Howard, Chandler and Curry sounds pretty appealing. So does the extra $10 million in cap space Chicago likely will have next season after signing Crawford to an extension.

Not so fast.

In the world of the NBA draft, where subterfuge is the weapon of choice in ensuring the guy you want remains on the draft board until you pick, everything isn't always what it seems.

"I think that whole scenario is a product of 'Mark Cuban Productions,' " one assistant GM told Insider. "I've seen it too many times. That's too perfect for Dallas. They get two low post players and a young stud like [Mickael] Pietrus at No. 7. Be careful."

Good advice. Remember, it was Cuban who just days earlier began fueling the rumors of a sign-and-trade deal to bring Jason Kidd to Dallas.

One more late phone call wakes up my best source with the Bulls. "I'm under the impression we're not doing anything. Of course, that could change tomorrow."

It probably will. The real trade talk begins today. With time running out, offers become more serious, trade proposals more realistic and the pressure to make something happen gets turned to high.

Trade Talk

I wasn't the only one hearing that the Bulls were on the trading warpath. The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting a similar deal. According to that paper, Paxson was the one making the phone call to Dallas.

Meanwhile Donnie Nelson told the Dallas Morning News that the Big Three -- Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash and Finley -- were basically untouchable.

"We're at a stage now where the Big Three or Big Four (Nowitzki, Finley, Nash, Nick Van Exel ) have produced some pretty sweet music and some incredible results," Nelson said. "To tamper with that would take a significant deal. If you're ever going to break that up, it better be for a quantum leap. Otherwise, I think it would be a mistake. I would say I wouldn't look for that to happen."

Make of that what you will.
Vladimir Radmanovic
Power Forward
Seattle SuperSonics
Profile


2002-2003 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
72 10.1 4.5 1.3 .410 .706



No real news to report on the Sonics-Raptors talks. The deal sending Vladimir Radmanovic, Brent Barry and No. 12 to Toronto for Jerome Williams, Michael Bradley and the No. 4 is still on hold.

The Raptors are getting flooded with offers for the No. 4 pick and haven't made any decisions. The Knicks, Mavs, Celtics, Blazers and Sonics are all trying to get up to No. 4. So apparently are the Cavs.

The latest buzz has the Cavs offering Ricky Davis and Chris Mihm for Hakeem Olajuwon and the No. 4 pick. However the Raps won't give their No. 4 away unless someone takes one of their bad contracts (read: Jerome Williams) off their hands. Still, that wouldn't be a bad deal for the Cavs. Put LeBron James, Darius Miles, Chris Bosh and Dajuan Wagner on the floor, and the Cavs just might have something.
Ricky Davis
Guard-Forward
Cleveland Cavaliers
Profile


2002-2003 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
79 20.6 4.9 5.5 .410 .748



The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting rumblings out of Detroit that the Pistons will trade point guard Chucky Atkins, forward Tayshaun Prince and center/forward Mehmet Okur for the Cavs' Ricky Davis.

Davis certainly would help the Pistons' scoring problems. But would Joe Dumars really do this deal? Losing Atkins isn't an issue, but he loves Prince, and Okur looks like he could turn into a major force down low. Of course, with the coming of Darko, maybe Okur is expendable.

It should be noted that both of these reports fly in the face of recent rumblings that Davis is off the block in Cleveland.

The Nuggets are tying to pick up a second first-round pick. With Carmelo Anthony the likely pick at No. 3, word is that the team is trying to package Rodney White and Marcus Camby for a player and a mid first-round pick.

"The question is, how much of our cap room we're really ready to give up," one Nuggets source told Insider. "But there are several guys we like around there."
Gilbert Arenas
Point Guard
Golden State Warriors
Profile


2002-2003 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
82 18.3 4.7 6.3 .431 .791



Speaking of the Nuggets, their chances of landing Gilbert Arenas may have taken a hit. Insider reported Monday the Warriors were fliriting with picking Ndudi Ebi, a raw high school power forward, with the 11th pick.

We'll pause why you all say, "Huh?" Well, Skip Bayless of the San Jose Mercury News might have just filled in the blanks.

Ebi and Arenas are represented by the same agent, Dan Fegan. Could Fegan arrange to have Arenas sign for less in Golden State now if the Warriors promise to give Ebi some love at 11 and max-out Arenas in a new deal in two years?

It might not have to be 11, either. There's talk the Hawks and Warriors are talking about a swap that would send the No. 11 to the Hawks for the No. 21 and a future first-round pick. The Hawks would then select Louisville's Reece Gaines at 11, and the Warriors would take Ebi at 21.

Fegan has a history with the Warriors. He also represents Jason Richardson and Troy Murphy. But is he that powerful?

Arenas likely would be turning down at least $3 million a year over the next two years to re-sign with the Warriors rather than seek his fortune with the Nuggets. The most the Warriors can offer is the mid-level exception, which is supposed to start at around $4.9 million next year. The Nuggets likely would offer a deal starting at around $8 million a year. Because Arenas is a restricted free agent, to re-sign with his team it has to be at least a three-year deal with a player opt-out after year two.

That's a big risk. Injuries, a bad season or two and the possibility of the NBA finding out about the under the table agreement could come back to haunt Arenas and the Warriors. Just ask Joe Smith and the T-Wolves. And while Fegan and the Warriors would never be stupid enough to actually put something in writing, that could mean trouble down the road. Just ask Rashard Lewis, who felt the Sonics reneged on a max-out promise two seasons ago.

But the Warriors would be loathe to screw Fegan, considering he represents so many of their players. I'm not sure how realistic the scenario is, but it certainly makes sense at one level.

Stock Watch

Ndudi Ebi isn't the only one being mentioned as a surprise Warriors' pick on draft night. Two sources told Insider the team was also seriously looking at Yugoslavian forward Zarko Cabarkapa at No. 11.

The Warriors have been calling sources in Yugoslavia trying to do background checks on him. He has not worked out for the team.


Ford

Texas point guard T.J. Ford continues to slide on many draft boards. Several teams told Insider they're concerned about his back. According to the teams, he has a condition called spinal stenosis. While the condition is not career threatening, it could require surgery, which could cut into the summer league or training camp.

Combine that with his size (just a hair over 6-feet) and his weak perimeter shot, and it may be enough to push Ford down into the late lottery.

Central Michigan center Chris Kaman snuck into L.A. for a second workout with the Clippers on Sunday. He reportedly put on a much better performance than in his first one. How good? With the Clips sure they're losing Michael Olowokandi this offseason, Kaman might have moved back to the top of their draft board.


Payton

Are the Bucks still drafting a point guard? Over the last 24 hours a rumor has spread through the league that they now feel they'll be able to get Gary Payton re-signed. That's not a shocker from Payton's end. The free-agent market will be tough. But would the Bucks really re-sign him? With the team up for sale, are they really going to start signing guys to big multi-year deals?

If they do feel comfortable on Payton, the Bucks could go big and take someone like Kaman, Maciej Lampe or Nick Collison if they're still on the board at No. 8.

I think it's smoke. It's hard to believe they'll pass on Hinrich or Ford.

Marcus Banks may be the hottest name in the draft, but a questionable background check may be scaring off the Sonics at No. 14. It appears that if they keep the pick, they'll take Luke Ridnour or Reece Gaines. Banks probably won't slip past No. 17.

The Suns have narrowed their list down to Zarko Cabarkapa, Brian Cook and Luke Ridnour.

Weird rumor of the day. Are the Hornets flirting with Senegal's Malick Badiane at No. 18. While everyone loves his pro body and athleticism, he's a pretty big project. How long can New Orleans wait?

Workout News
Raptors: Coach Kevin O'Neill flew to New York on Tuesday to look at Kaman and Illinois forward Brian Cook. The Raps will take a look at Ford, Gaines and Lampe today in New York.

Knicks: Joining Kaman and Cook in New York on Tuesday was Penn's Ugonna Onyekwe, Arizona State's Tommy Smith, Ball State's Theron Smith, Weber State's Jermaine Boyette, North Carolina State's Josh Powell and Florida's Matt Bonner. Lampe, Gaines and Ford will be working out in New York today.

Heat Lampe worked out with Tennessee's Ron Slay and Siena's Prosper Karangwa on Tuesday. Rick Rickert will workout in Miami today.

Hawks: Senegal's Malick Badiane and Minnesota's Rickert were in town on Tuesday.

Jazz: Serbian Alexsandar Pavlovic and Xavier's David West worked out on Tuesday, along with North Dakota center-forward Jerome Beasley and SMU guard Quinton Ross. Today, the Jazz will work out Duke swingman Dahntay Jones, Notre Dame guard Matt Carroll and DePaul forward Sam Hoskin.

Sonics: The team worked out the Republic of Georgia's Zaur Pachulia on Tuesday.

Wizards: France's Paccelis Morlende and Croatia's Zoran Planinic worked out on Tuesday.

T-Wolves: The team will bring in Boston College's Troy Bell, along with Badiane and Minnesota's Jerry Holman today.

Cavs: Bell, Travis Hansen, Jason Kapono and Hollis Price worked out in Cleveland on Tuesday. Kyle Korver and Luke Walton are scheduled to work out today.

Tony tha Mavs fan
06-25-2003, 08:59 AM
The Bulls deal for Finley makes some sense, but i don't think the Mavs would get that much better if they trade Finley for Marshall, Fizer, E.Robinson and number 7. Finley's an all star, if you take that big of a risk to trade him for role players they better be absolutely sure they win a championship with them. But it think this is Cuban putting up a smokescreen for a bigger deal .

Drbio
06-25-2003, 09:34 AM
I love Mike Finley. I really do. It would be devastating to me to send him out of Dallas.


But, that trade could be an upgrade for us and I would consider it. Finley is an aging warrior. I will always respect him, but the business side of me usually outweighs the emotional side.

Rhylan
06-25-2003, 09:53 AM
I agree with Tony.. although this is an upgrade in depth for sure.. I don't think the players who will be available at #7 will give that "quantum leap opportunity" that Donnie talked about.

MavsFanFinley
06-25-2003, 10:13 AM
I don't think the players who will be available at #7 will give that "quantum leap opportunity" that Donnie talked about.

The Mavs obviously have someone in mind, whether it's this Pietrus guy or someone they're keeping quiet about for now.

I don't believe the 'quatum leap' comment if they could trade that high, but it doesn't look good for any Mav front office man who goes around saying the big 3 or 4 are untouchable and then turn around and trade one of them.

madape
06-25-2003, 10:14 AM
I don't give a crap about a "quantum leap". That's just Donnie covering his ass on one end and trying to get as much as he can for Fin on the other end. If it makes us a better team, then do it. If we can replace Finley with a more athletic, more skilled player while at the same time getting better in the post, it's a no brainer. If Pietrus is as good as everyone says he is, then lets get it done.

jayC
06-25-2003, 10:52 AM
The mavs love to blow smoke. Come on Nellies press conferences after a playoff win against sacramento were as good as they are and as any team in the league, after a loss we are a top five team just not as good as they are. What this is the fourth or fifth trade this week that has made sense to some writer. Id wish we could pry chandler or curry into this trade then Id be really on board with it.

David
06-25-2003, 11:17 AM
Originally posted by: madape
I don't give a crap about a "quantum leap". That's just Donnie covering his ass on one end and trying to get as much as he can for Fin on the other end. If it makes us a better team, then do it. If we can replace Finley with a more athletic, more skilled player while at the same time getting better in the post, it's a no brainer. If Pietrus is as good as everyone says he is, then lets get it done.

IF. What happens if, after the draft, Pietrus is NOT "as good as everyone says he is"? Who catches hell then?

seelenjaeger
06-25-2003, 11:50 AM
Finley for Marshall, Fizer, Eddie Robinson and 7.

So letīs take a look:

We get a rebounding versatile SF (Marshall), an undersized but big-heart PF (FIzer), some guy with a nice scoring touch (Robinson) and a mid lottery pick.

From a GM point of view, you HAVE to do this trade imho. It solves some of our main problems (skilled rebounders, depth) AND adds to our development. Is Pietrus the guy we need? Probably not. We can aswell take Diaw. Wade if heīs available. Hayes. Or we can still go with Pietrus (as long as #7 isnīt meant to be Kaman itīs ok for me).

From a Dallas Mavs fan point of view: Iīd love to build this team around Nash N Dirk. Am I willing to part with Finley, if it takes us to the next step? Sad but true, I am. Is this the next step? It might. Would I pull the trigger on this one? No. Not enough courage on this one.

David
06-25-2003, 01:05 PM
Originally posted by: seelenjaeger
Finley for Marshall, Fizer, Eddie Robinson and 7.

So letīs take a look:

We get a rebounding versatile SF (Marshall), an undersized but big-heart PF (FIzer), some guy with a nice scoring touch (Robinson) and a mid lottery pick.

From a GM point of view, you HAVE to do this trade imho. It solves some of our main problems (skilled rebounders, depth) AND adds to our development. Is Pietrus the guy we need? Probably not. We can aswell take Diaw. Wade if heīs available. Hayes. Or we can still go with Pietrus (as long as #7 isnīt meant to be Kaman itīs ok for me).

From a Dallas Mavs fan point of view: Iīd love to build this team around Nash N Dirk. Am I willing to part with Finley, if it takes us to the next step? Sad but true, I am. Is this the next step? It might. Would I pull the trigger on this one? No. Not enough courage on this one.
Marshall has a reputation as being soft. We already have plenty of soft big men. Fizer is coming off of a serious knee injury and has trouble getting off his shot inside and IS an inside player, no outside game. Robinson is supposed to be good but if all of these guys are so good, how come Chicago hasn't been better? Pietrus, I'd like to have, but he is the only one who intrigues me in the entire trade and I've never seen him play. We KNOW what Fin brings to the table. It looks, kind of, like a trade of guys the Bulls wouldn't mind getting rid of + a rookie for an all-star.

Evilmav2
06-25-2003, 01:31 PM
Fizer is coming off of a serious knee injury and has trouble getting off his shot inside and IS an inside player, no outside game

Fizer is coming off of a serious knee injury: True

Fizer has no outside game: Somewhat true

Fizer has trouble getting off his shot inside: False

Marcus Fizer has a lot of problems as a player (too small, bad jumpshot, no ballhandling for a 6-8 guy, etc... ), but in my opinion his ability to get off his shots, and finish them in the paint is his greatest strength. Fizer is a pretty decent rebounder, but it is the strength, craftiness, and finishing ability that Fizer displays while playing with his back to the basket that represents most of his value. Whenever I have seen him play for the Bulls (or Iowa State before that) he just seems to have an uncanny knack for scoring in the paint- scoring with either hand, hooks, fadeaways, up-and-unders, and dunks...

He probably wouldn't fit in very well here in Dallas, but it wouldn't be because he has trouble scoring in the paint...