Knicks land Rose, Taylor, draft picks
New York Knicks-San Antonio Spurs-Houston Rockets: The Knicks made two deals before Thursday's NBA trading deadline to acquire Malik Rose and two No. 1 picks from the Spurs and forward Maurice Taylor from the Rockets.
The Knicks would send starting center Nazr Mohammed and backup point guard Jamison Brewer to the Spurs for Rose and the two picks, a first-round choice in 2005 that originally belonged to the Suns, and the Spurs' No. 1 pick in 2006.
Acknowledging he was "surprised" that the 76ers were able to acquire Chris Webber from Sacramento, Knicks president Isiah Thomas said he never inquired about the five-time All-Star's availability. Webber is coming off knee surgery and has $62 million remaining on his contract.
"For us to try to take players right now at this stage of the game who are making in excess of $19 or 20 million and are over the age of 30, those don't work for our strategic plan right now," Thomas said. "I don't think that's the healthy and secure way to go."
The moves were a clear sign Thomas is placing a greater emphasis on rebuilding through the draft.
The Knicks would have their own No. 1 and the Suns' first-round pick this June, and the 2006 pick from the Spurs would put the Knicks back into the first-round of that draft. Thomas traded the Knicks' own 2006 first-round pick to the Suns as part of the Stephon Marbury deal.
ESPN Insider Chad Ford first reported the deal on Thursday.
The deal was far short of the blockbuster many thought the Nuggets needed to make a serious run at the postseason, although it should give them more depth. Tskitishvili, the fifth overall pick of the 2002 draft, turned out to be little more than a fan favorite and 12th man. White's playing time has diminished as the season progressed.
"We made the trade to get better," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I don't think we really had a desire to really push anything crazy."
Najera is a fourth-year veteran who averages 4.2 points and 2.8 rebounds. Karl called him "a hustle guy, a physical guy" who gives the Nuggets a dimension they don't have.
Flores, a rookie second-round draft pick who made a name for himself last season at tiny Manhattan, rarely played for the Warriors, averaging 2.1 points over 15 games.
The Rockets have coveted James all season for guard depth, and trading him would relieve Milwaukee of the $7.1 million left on James' contract after this season.
"Mike James is a talented point guard who gives us another offensive threat," Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson said. "We've been interested in Mike for some time now, and we really liked the defensive toughness that he brings."
The Bucks have been trying to trade Keith Van Horn and James this week in hopes of creating more financial flexibility to re-sign Redd this offseason.
Cleveland, according to league sources, is the Redd suitor feared most by Milwaukee, and the Cavaliers should have the salary-cap space in July to make the former Ohio State star a strong offer.
James, a four-year veteran, appeared in 47 games for Milwaukee this season and averaged 11.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He signed with the Bucks on Aug. 5 after playing for the NBA champion Pistons in 2004.
Hamilton averaged 3.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in 16 games this season.
Gaines, in his second season, has played in only 10 games with the Rockets, averaging 2.6 points and 1.1 rebounds.
Milwaukee will get the draft picks in 2006 and 2007.
The deal, pending league approval, sends the 6-foot-8 Smith back to where he started his NBA career in 1991. The teams had discussed a trade earlier in the week, the Observer reported. The 6-10 Allen has played the past three seasons with the Heat.
Smith, 35, is shooting 42 percent from 3-point range this season. He was the Heat's first-round draft pick, the fifth player selected overall, in the 1991 draft.
When Charlotte acquired a first-round pick from Phoenix on June 22 through the expansion selection, the Cavaliers were permitted to keep the pick if it fell within certain draft positions. Cleveland has now removed all restrictions on the pick, giving the selection to the Bobcats.
ESPN.com senior writer Marc Stein, ESPN Insider Chad Ford and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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