Jamison to Mavs highlights nine-player trade with Warriors

Updated: August 19, 2003, 3:16 AM ET

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks never felt the need to make a major offseason move, even while the other top teams in the Western Conference were upgrading their rosters.

The Mavericks changed their mind when they revisited an old conversation with Golden State. The result was a nine-player trade Monday that brought forward Antawn Jamison to Dallas.

Dallas also got guard Jiri Welsch and forwards Danny Fortson and Chris Mills from the Warriors. The Mavericks sent guards Nick Van Exel, Avery Johnson and Antoine Rigaudeau, center Evan Eschmeyer and forward Popeye Jones to Golden State.

"The genesis of the deal started a full year ago, was revisited shortly after the draft, tweaked and twiddled and kind of came back to life," said Donnie Nelson, the Mavericks' president of basketball operations. "In the last week or so, we came to a consensus. It's funny how this stuff works out."

The 6-foot-9 Jamison has averaged 20.2 points a game in his five NBA seasons, and has been the Warriors' top scorer the past four seasons.

Van Exel was the Mavericks' leading scorer off the bench last season. During the playoffs, when Dallas advanced to the conference finals before losing to San Antonio, the 10-year veteran averaged 19.5 points -- seven points higher than his regular-season average in 73 games.

Nelson said the deal with Golden State makes the Mavericks bigger, younger and more versatile. Jamison is 27, four years younger than Van Exel, and Welsch was the Warriors' first-round pick last season from the Czech Republic.

The Mavericks weren't able to sign Alonzo Mourning, who signed with the New Jersey Nets, or any other big-name free agents after the playoffs. Meanwhile, San Antonio, Sacramento and the Los Angeles Lakers all made moves to improve their rosters.

"We felt no internal pressure in making the deal. Our philosophy was almost the complete opposite," Nelson said. "The way this summer panned out has been very odd. We felt in good position with Alonzo and things didn't work out. We got close on a lot of different things we would have executed that, for whatever reason, they didn't work out."

General manager Garry St. Jean said there were several advantages for the Warriors, who were 38-44 last season.

"In the short term, we have added talented players to our roster, while also providing an opportunity for some of our younger players to step up and play larger roles in our overall development," St. Jean said. "In the long term, this trade will provide us with some flexibility that we may not otherwise have had."

Jamison is going into the second year of his $80-million, six-year contract. Fortson had played just 100 of 246 games with the Warriors in the three seasons since signing his $38 million, seven-year contract.

Van Exel will step in with a team that has a young nucleus of Troy Murphy, Jason Richardson and Mike Dunleavy. Van Exel also helps alleviate the loss of Gilbert Arenas, who joined the Washington Wizards after the Warriors didn't match a $65 million, six-year deal for the restricted free agent.

Dallas was able to make a big move without touching its top trio of Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash and Michael Finley. And with Jamison at small forward, Finley will be able to play shooting guard.

Before playing just 17 games last season and averaging just 3.5 points and 4.3 rebounds a game, the 6-foot-8 Fortson averaged 11.7 rebounds a game in 76 starts in 2001-02.

Mills, a 10-year veteran, is going into the final year of his contract after averaging 4.8 points and 2.4 rebounds last season. Welsch played just 37 games last season and average just 1.6 points a game.

Johnson, a 16-year NBA veteran, was Golden State's captain when he played there in 1993-94. He has played 1,008 NBA games with six different teams. Rigaudeau was a nine-time All-Star in Europe who played just 11 games for the Mavericks after being signed last January, and Jones played in just 26 games for Dallas.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index