Cavs get McInnis, Boumtje Boumtje
CLEVELAND -- Darius Miles received another wake-up call: He got traded to Portland.
Miles, who was fined by the Cavaliers for oversleeping and skipping a practice earlier this week, was dealt Wednesday to the Trail Blazers for point guard Jeff McInnis and center Ruben Boumtje Boumtje.
The 22-year-old Miles, who jumped straight from high school to the NBA in 2000, was averaging 8.9 points in 24 minutes per game. He has shown breathtaking flashes of skill, but has been plagued by inconsistency, and first-year Cleveland coach Paul Silas was reluctant to play him.
Miles will get a fresh start with the disappointing Blazers, who might not be done turning over their roster.
Portland general manager John Nash said the trade had been in the works for about a week, but talks had been on and off between the teams for the past year.
"We knew that Cleveland was interested in a point guard, and we knew they'd been interested in Jeff for several months," said Nash, who may still trade Rasheed Wallace.
After playing just eight minutes Saturday in Utah in the final game of Cleveland's road trip and with trade rumors about him circulating, Miles missed practice on Monday, saying he had forgotten to set his alarm clock.
The club was so concerned about Miles' unexplained absence that they sent the police to his house to make sure he was safe.
Miles was fined by the Cavs, but the lanky 6-foot-9 swingman played 17 minutes in Monday's win over Seattle. Miles, who will be a free agent after this season, is making $4.1 million in the final year of his contract.
The Blazers like Miles' versatility and think a change of scenery may bring out his best.
"We have a few options with him," Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. "He's a very athletic player. He can get up and down the floor. There's been times this season where we have had a hard time doing that. Coming here, he has a new look, where he can start all over. We all see the potential in him."
McInnis, 29, will give Cleveland some depth at point guard and another veteran to surround rookie star LeBron James.
McInnis is averaging 11.9 points and 5.0 assists in 32.5 minutes per game, but had his playing time reduced recently when Derek Anderson returned from the injured list.
"Jeff is one of those guys who will step in and do a good job for us," said Cavs general manager Jim Paxson, who doesn't expect McInnis and Boumtje-Boumtje to be available for Thursday's game against Sacramento.
Paxson said the main reason to get McInnis was to make things easier for the 6-foot-8 James, who has had to play point guard during stretches this season.
McInnis will split time with Kevin Ollie at point, leaving James to play off-guard and small forward.
"We've asked LeBron to do a heck of a lot," Paxson said. "But for him to be most effective, we don't need him bringing the ball up, initiating our offense and having to score points. That's going to take its toll. We needed to get him back to his more natural position."
Paxson said the Cavs didn't want to wait until the offseason to try and add a point guard. They were afraid if they had waited, they wouldn't have been able to get a player of McInnis' quality.
"We feel he is as good a point guard as we were going to get," said Paxson, who had been interested in signing McInnis two years ago as a free agent.
McInnis is making $3.3 million this season, and Paxson said the guard's contract is partially protected for next season and would be guaranteed if he's on Cleveland's roster on July 1.
Boumtje-Boumtje, 25, has been playing less than three minutes per game. He was on the injured list most of last season.
This trade is the second significant deal in the past two months for Paxson, who pulled off a six-player swap with the Boston Celtics on Dec. 15.
Paxson said this deal would likely be the Cavs' last before the Feb. 19 trading deadline.
Miles is joining a Portland team that has been in disarray much of the season. The Trail Blazers (17-23) have lost nine of 11, but had one of their biggest wins on Tuesday, a 109-104 victory over the Kings.
Earlier this season, the club traded guard Bonzi Wells to Memphis, and Wallace has been rumored to be on his way to Dallas.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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