Mavs send Van Exel, four others to Warriors

Updated: August 19, 2003, 2:37 PM ET
Associated Press

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks finally made a major offseason move, acquiring Antawn Jamison in a nine-player trade with the Golden State Warriors.

Antawn Jamison
Jamison

Nick Van Exel
Van Exel

The Mavericks also got guard Jiri Welsch and forwards Danny Fortson and Chris Mills from the Warriors for guards Nick Van Exel, Avery Johnson and Antoine Rigaudeau, center Evan Eschmeyer and forward Popeye Jones in the deal announced Monday.

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.

"This makes us bigger and younger and more versatile,'' said Donnie Nelson, the Mavericks' president of basketball operations. "It's a move that makes sense not only in the short term, but it keeps us healthy three or four years down the line.''

Van Exel was the Mavericks' leading scorer off the bench last season. During the playoffs, when Dallas advanced to the Western 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.

After reaching the conference finals for only the second time in team history, the Mavericks weren't able to land any big-name free agents, primarily Alonzo Mourning who seemed destined for Dallas before signing with New Jersey. San Antonio, Sacramento and the Los Angeles Lakers, the other top teams in the Western Conference, had all already moves to upgrade their rosters.

Nelson said the Mavericks got calls from teams throughout the league thinking they would make any deal presented, but said they were content going into the new season without any major roster changes.

"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.''

Nelson said the deal with Golden State originated from talks a year ago.

Golden State general manager Garry St. Jean said there were several advantages to the deal for his team.

"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.

The deal allowed Dallas to make a move while leaving alone 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 was the Warriors' first-round draft pick in 2002, but played just 37 games last season with just 1.6 points a game.

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.

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.

The Warriors were 38-44 last season, sixth in the Pacific Division ahead of only the Los Angeles Clippers (27-55).


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

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