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Deadline deals

Marbury traded to Nets in 8-player, 3-team swap

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Posted: Thursday March 11, 1999 09:42 PM

  Net prophet? Marbury could be just the player to turn New Jersey around. AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stephon Marbury, one of the most talented young point guards in the NBA, was dealt to the New Jersey Nets in a three-team, eight-player swap Thursday just hours before the league's trading deadline.

Three other minor deals were made, the Vancouver Grizzlies sending Sam Mack to Houston for Rodrick Rhodes, the New York Knicks acquiring the rights to Mirsad Turkcan from Philadelphia for a first-round pick and the Cleveland Cavaliers sending Vitaly Potapenko to Boston for Andrew DeClercq and a No. 1 pick.

By far the biggest deal of the day sent Marbury back home to the New York metropolitan area to play for the Nets, owners of the worst record in the Eastern Conference.

New Jersey got Marbury after Miami, which was considering trading Tim Hardaway and P.J. Brown, backed out of a complicated four-team deal, The Associated Press learned.

Marbury moved to the Nets along with guard Chris Carr and forward Bill Curley. The Wolves got guard Terrell Brandon from Milwaukee and forward Brian Evans and two draft choices from the Nets, including a first-rounder, and New Jersey sent Sam Cassell and Chris Gatling to the Bucks, who also get Paul Grant from the Wolves.

"We were kind of forced into it," Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said of the trade.

The proposed deal involving Miami also would have included Milwaukee, Minnesota and Vancouver, but the Heat pulled out in mid-afternoon.

A source closely involved in the trade talks, as well as a league official with knowledge of the discussions, said Miami was considering sending Hardaway to the Bucks and Brown to the Grizzlies. Marbury would have gone to the Heat, the Wolves would have gotten Brandon and a No. 1 pick and the Grizzlies would have acquired a No. 1 pick along with Brown.

"I think the Miami discussions were an exploratory thing," said agent David Falk, who represents Marbury. "When I spoke to coach Riley, I told him Stephon really wanted to go home to the New York area. I don't know exactly which players Miami was considering trading."

Taylor said the Wolves offered Marbury the maximum deal under the NBA's new labor contract, six years for $71 million, and were told that Marbury would not accept it and would leave Minnesota when he became a free agent this summer.

The Bucks also were faced with the prospect of losing Brandon as a free agent and getting nothing in return.

"I'm extremely appreciative of Glen Taylor and (Bucks owner) Herb Kohl for allowing us to assist them in getting this very complicated deal done," Falk said. "The deadline was 6 p.m., and at 6:01, if they hadn't been traded, those players would no longer have had any long-term value to those teams."

Marbury said he would sign a six-year, $71 million extension with the Nets on Friday when he joins the team in Philadelphia. His acquisition is also expected to increase the Nets' chances of re-signing Kerry Kittles and Keith Van Horn, both of whom are clients of Falk.

It was unclear if the Wolves had some sort of an agreement with Brandon that will keep him with the team beyond this season.

"It feels good. I think any player, anyone who's in any type of business enjoys being wanted," Brandon said. "I'm excited about being a Timberwolf."

Cassell is signed for the next four seasons, so the Bucks face no risk of losing him.

The Nets are off to the worst start in the Eastern Conference at 3-15, including five straight losses that have raised questions about coach John Calipari's job security.

Marbury had helped turn the Timberwolves into one of the most exciting teams in the West. At 12-6, they are only two games behind Utah in the Midwest Division.

"It wasn't money," Taylor said. "He grew up in the East and wants to play back by his family."

Marbury has long expressed a desire to play for the New York Knicks, and it's clear he saw the Nets as the next best thing.

"It's New York, but it's not New York. It's New Jersey," he told WFAN. "When people think about the New Jersey Nets, the first thing they think is that's the other New York team."

Taylor said he was disappointed but had no hard feelings.

"I think he's got a great future. We liked him here, we invested a lot of time in him as a young player. [But] he's gone and we're very, very fortunate to land another outstanding guard in Terrell Brandon."

Cassell has played in only two games since spraining his ankle in the season opener. Gatling had asked to be traded, and Evans was showcased in heavy minutes Wednesday night in a loss to the Pacers.

Carr, Curley and Grant have seen little action this season. They were included in the trade to make it work under salary cap rules.

Mack was sent back to his former team when Vancouver sent him to Houston for second-year swingman Rhodes.

After a solid start this season in which he averaged 17.8 points a game through eight games, Mack's production cooled off to where he was relegated to coming off the bench in Vancouver's last four outings.

"Certainly we gave up some outside shooting with Sam, but he wasn't making very many shots lately. We think that at least what we've gotten is better defensively," Grizzlies president-general manager Stu Jackson said. "I think with Rodrick, it's one more step to adding some versatility to our lineup."

Turkcan, the 18th pick overall of the 1998 draft, is currently playing forward for Efes Pilssen of the Turkish League. He will be eligible to join the Knicks in late April.

He was originally drafted by Houston, then was traded to Philadelphia after the lockout ended in order to clear salary cap space for the Rockets' acquisition of Scottie Pippen.

The Knicks will give the 76ers a first-round draft pick that originally belonged to Toronto. The Knicks acquired it from the Raptors in the John Wallace trade.

The 6-foot-10 Ukrainian-born Potapenko has played in all 17 Cleveland games this season, averaging 8.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. He was selected by Cleveland as the 12th pick overall in the 1996 draft.

Cleveland had been under a deadline to sign Potapenko to a new contract by Saturday or face losing him to free agency after the season.

Potapenko had been used largely as a reserve forward-center until a season-ending injury to center Zydrunas Ilgauskas last month.

The 6-10 DeClercq has averaged 5.4 points and 4.5 rebounds in 14 games for Boston. As part of the trade, Cleveland also gets one first-round draft pick between now and 2001. The Cavs have the option of when to use the pick.

Related information
Rice shipped to L.A.; Jones headed to Charlotte
Minnesota hands Seattle fourth straight loss
CNN/SI Player Page: Sam Cassell Career Stats
CNN/SI Player Page: Chris Gatling Career Stats
CNN/SI Player Page: Stephon Marbury Career Stats
CNN/SI Player Page: Chris Carr Career Stats
CNN/SI Player Page: Bill Curley Career Stats
CNN/SI Player Page: Terrell Brandon Career Stats
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