Seeing Redd: Bucks deal Van Horn to Mavs

Updated: February 24, 2005, 10:26 PM ET news services

DALLAS -- The ever-tinkering Dallas Mavericks made a surprising move to bolster their rotation Thursday, getting Keith Van Horn from the Milwaukee Bucks for Alan Henderson, Calvin Booth and cash.

Keith Van Horn
Van Horn

"I think we need to stretch defenses," Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "If we're going to have to play Phoenix, Seattle and other high-scoring teams, he's going to be nice to have. ... I don't know if you can ever talk about titles, but I think he gives us a better shot than we had before."

Moving Van Horn, in addition to the trade of Mike James to Houston earlier Thursday, removes nearly $13 million in salary-cap obligations from the Bucks' payroll next season.

The Bucks made the moves in anticipation of presenting free agent-to-be Michael Redd with a contract offer sufficiently lucrative to convince Redd to spurn advances from his home-state Cleveland Cavaliers and stay in Milwaukee.

"I think what we've established is that Michael is a piece to building a championship team," Bucks general manager Larry Harris said. "He has a skill that is unmatched (except) by maybe four or five players in the league."

When healthy, Van Horn would provide Dallas with another scorer, perhaps when star Dirk Nowitzki rests or even alongside him at small forward. Coach Don Nelson loves trying to create mismatches, so he might even pair the two perimeter-oriented big men at center and power forward.

Problem is, Van Horn isn't always healthy. He's missed 19 games this season because of tendinitis in his right ankle and has been hobbled often in his 10-year career. Milwaukee has mostly limited him to fewer than 20 minutes per game since he came off the injured list in January.

In addition to his lessened role, the Bucks were willing to give him up for salary-cap reasons. He's due nearly $16 million next season, while Henderson becomes a free agent and Booth is owed a little more than $6 million; Booth also gets a small raise the next season.

Dallas acquired Henderson and Booth over the summer, with Henderson basically a throw-in on a deal with Atlanta after he played just six games last season. He wound up becoming a key part of the team's rotation -- he was the only Mavericks player to appear in all 52 games so far this season.

The timing is a bit awkward for the Mavericks because center Erick Dampier just went on the injured list with a stress fracture in his right foot and Henderson started in his place the last two games. Booth's role had increased, too. Dallas had no choice, though, because Thursday was the trade deadline.

Information from senior writer Marc Stein and The Associated Press was used in this report.