Kings also receive Bradley
Magic GM John Weisbrod has been lukewarm to Cuttino Mobley since trading for him this summer. Mobley is an undersized two-guard who thinks "shoot first" on almost every occasion. The Magic wanted a better defensive presence in the backcourt and Doug Christie can deliver.
On the other side of the coin, the Kings were looking to juice their backcourt scoring ever since Bobby Jackson went down for the season. While the deal makes Sacramento more potent offensively, it does lose its best (and sometimes only) defender in Christie.
As far as the salary cap, the trade was essentially a wash. Both Christie and Mobley are free agents after the 2005-06 season. Michael Bradley was a throw in for cap purposes.
The Kings, who also acquired injured forward Michael Bradley, gave up their best defender and a team leader to add another standout scorer to their lineup. Mobley averaged 16 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists in his 23 games with the Magic, who acquired him from Houston along with Steve Francis last summer in the seven-player trade involving Tracy McGrady.He has averaged 17 points per game during his seven pro seasons, including a career-best 21.7 in 2001-02 with the Rockets.
"He's an athletic, all-around very skilled offensive two-guard that has been remarkably consistent in his production over his career," said Geoff Petrie, the Kings' president of basketball operations. "He's a terrific 3-point shooter that can break people down and get to the basket. He's a very exciting player, and I think he'll be an adequate defender."
Petrie doesn't expect Mobley to be ready to play in Sacramento's home game against Denver on Tuesday night but believes the guard will be a valuable addition in the high-scoring Western Conference.
Mobley could also become a free agent next summer when he has a player option in his contract, possibly clearing room on the Kings' payroll for an extension for Peja Stojakovic or other needs.
Christie is in the fourth season of a seven-year, $48 million deal.
Mobley sat out the first half of the Magic's game at Boston on Monday night before the trade was announced. Several of his teammates wore black armbands with Mobley's No. 5 on them.
Mobley had mixed emotions about the deal, expressing excitement about joining Sacramento's potent offense but disappointment at leaving the improved Magic.
"I'm sad," Mobley said at halftime. "I don't know what the situation was. Maybe they were scared I wouldn't sign back. ... I wasn't saying I would have opted out."
Christie, a 13-year veteran, has been a durable, dependable leader during five seasons with the Kings. He is averaging 7.3 points -- his lowest average in a decade -- along with 4.9 assists and four rebounds while starting all 31 games.
But he has made just 40.7 percent of his shots, a sharp decline from the last three seasons. Christie has missed just four games in his five seasons with Sacramento while routinely drawing defensive assignments against opponents' top players, but he missed training camp this season with plantar fasciitis in his feet.
Christie, who's joining his fifth NBA team, should provide a boost to the defense and passing of the Magic, who already have a wealth of perimeter scoring talent but have allowed the most points per game in the league this season. Stacey Augmon took Mobley's starting spot in Orlando's lineup in Boston.
"We felt that Doug was a perfect fit for the chemistry of our team right now," Orlando general manager John Weisbrod said. "He's a tremendous passer and defender, he's accustomed to playing in an up-tempo offense and he brings valuable playoff experience."
Maurice Evans, a journeyman who played in Italy last season, has become a standout defender and utility player, while rookie Kevin Martin also brought excitement to a club that has relied mostly on proficient passing and accurate shooting in recent years. At 29, Mobley is also five years younger than Christie.
"They play like they enjoy playing the game," Mobley said of the Kings. "They look like a fun team. That's what basketball is about, having fun."
In eight games with the Magic, Bradley is averaging 0.8 points and 1.8 rebounds in 6.9 minutes per game.
The Kings placed forward Erik Daniels on the injured list to make room for their new additions.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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