L.A. trades Van Exel to Nuggets
Lakers take Jacobson, Patterson, Bailey in draft
Posted: Thursday June 25, 1998 01:01 AM
INGLEWOOD, California (AP) -- As CNN/SI first reported, the Denver Nuggets have traded Tony Battie and the draft rights to point guard Tyronn Lue, the No. 23 pick in the 1998 NBA draft, to the Los Angeles Lakers for point guard Nick Van Exel.
About 45 minutes after the draft had concluded, Nuggets general manager Dan Issel announced that the team was sending the rights to forward Tony Battie and point guard Tyronn Lue, whom the Nuggets had drafted late in the first round, to the Lakers for Van Exel.
"We've taken a giant step to turn this team around," Issel said. "You have to love his (Van Exel's) competitiveness. He's an All-Star point guard we're going to build this team around."
Issel said the availability of Lue, who was drafted by the Nuggets as the 23rd player overall, was a key to the deal. "If Lue was gone, we wouldn't have been able to make the deal," Issel said. "He's one of two players they wanted."
The 6-foot-1 Van Exel, who averaged 13.8 points and 6.9 assists last season, has one year remaining on a five-year, $10.5 million contract which paid him $1.9 million last season.
Issel shrugged off questions about Van Exel's character, saying, "The report from the Lakers is that he is changed. I haven't talked to Nick yet, but his agent feels this will be a good change for him."
Van Exel is going from a team that won 61 games last season to one that won only 11.
Battie, the fifth choice in last year's draft, was a disappointment in his rookie season, averaging 8.4 points and 5.4 rebounds.
The Los Angeles Lakers used their three picks in the NBA draft to select three athletic and very talented players.
They selected shooting guard Sam Jacobson of Minnesota with the 26th pick.
Jacobson led the Gophers with 18.2 points as a senior and helped them to the NIT title. The 6-foot-6, 215-pounder finished fifth on Minnesota's all-time scoring list with 1,709 points, five more than former NBA player Kevin McHale.
"He's a tremendously athletic kid," said Jerry West, Lakers executive vice president. "We think he has great possibility. He's improved in all facets of his game over the years. We think he'll have a spot on our team."
Jacobson said he benefited from staying for his senior year.
"I got bigger and stronger and worked on my shot," he said in a conference call. "I matured and grew as a player and as a person."
The native of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, has spent his life in the Midwest, visiting Los Angeles about six times, including a trip to work out for the Lakers and Clippers before the draft.
"I'm really close to my family. My parents are going to miss me and they're not really going to want me to leave," Jacobson said, "but in the long run they want me to chase my dreams and my goals. They're really happy for me."
Patterson, who's 6-foot-6 and 227 pounds, averaged 16.5 points playing just 19 games. He missed the season's first 14 games while serving a suspension imposed by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits.
"He's one of those kids who's an absolutely relentless player," West said. "He's a defensive stopper. We think he's one of the better defenders in the whole draft."
Bailey, a Los Angeles native, ended his UCLA career as the school's fourth-leading scorer with 1,846 points. The three-time All-Pacific-10 selection scored 26 points as a freshman against Arkansas in the 1995 NCAA championship game. He was one of three UCLA players chosen, along with Jelani McCoy and J.R. Henderson.
West said the Lakers tried unsuccessfully to trade up for a higher first-round pick. He said some sort of trade was possible before the end of the night, but added, "We don't want to gut this team."
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this
service is provided to you.