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Mavs send Van Exel, four others to Warriors

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

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).