Fri, Jul 25, 2003 - Page 24 News List

Big names traded in new NBA round of musical chairs


Six players, including Latrell Sprewell, Glenn Robinson and Keith Van Horn, were involved in a four-team NBA trade Wednesday night.

Sprewell was sent to Minnesota, Robinson and Marc Jackson to Philadelphia, Van Horn to New York and Terrell Brandon and Randy Holcomb to Atlanta.

Two draft picks were also exchanged in the deal, that could have been even bigger.

Minnesota vice president Kevin McHale said negotiations continued throughout the day Wednesday and were complicated when a fifth team, which he would not name, tried to get involved. The process accelerated when that team dropped out Wednesday evening.

"I've found out one thing, that five general managers can't make a cake, but four can," McHale said.

Minnesota received Sprewell from New York and sent the injured Brandon to Atlanta and Jackson to Philadelphia. Robinson went from Atlanta to Philadelphia, which sent Van Horn to New York.

"He's going to add size to our frontcourt and give us a great deal of versatility," Knicks coach Don Chaney said of Van Horn. "If [Antonio] McDyess is healthy, we should be a very solid basketball team."

The 76ers also sent Holcomb, a reserve, and a first-round draft pick to Atlanta, while they reacquired their own 2006 second-round pick from the Hawks.

The deal ends Sprewell's five-season tenure with the Knicks which included a trip to the 1999 NBA Finals. He averaged 16.4 points and shot only a shade over 40 percent last season -- some of the lowest numbers of his 11-year career.

"Latrell gives us a very athletic swing player, something we have said since the end of last season that we needed," McHale said. "He will give us tremendous defensive effort every time he steps on the court. He has played in a number of big games and has not been afraid to take big shots over his career."

Sprewell, who has averaged 19.1 points and 4.2 rebounds for his career, will fill a hole at shooting guard for the Timberwolves, giving them a starting lineup of Troy Hudson or Sam Cassell at point guard, Wally Szczerbiak at small forward, Kevin Garnett at power forward and recently signed free agent Michael Olowokandi at center.

Brandon, whose career is likely over because of repeated knee injuries, was attractive because his US$11 million-plus contract is due to come off the salary cap in February. Atlanta could then use that space to have extra maneuverability on the free agent market or in trades.

"He's seen oodles of doctors, oodles of therapists and oodles of specialists. His injury is such that he gets to a certain level and starts to push really hard, his knee starts to really swell up," McHale said. "Right now, it's a definite. No way he's doing to play basketball."

Robinson, a two-time All-Star, joins his third team in three years. He averaged 20.8 points and 6.6 rebounds in his only season in Atlanta after being traded from Milwaukee last offseason.

Selected by the Bucks with the No. 1 overall pick in 1994, Robinson has averaged 21.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and is shooting 46 percent, including 34 percent from 3-point range, in his nine-year career.

The Sixers will have wait until their fourth game to use Robinson. He was suspended for three games without pay by the NBA earlier this month after being convicted of pushing and threatening his ex-fiancee.

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