Trade with Sixers allows Denver to shed payroll

Updated: September 10, 2007, 7:10 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

The teams that combined on December's Allen Iverson blockbuster trade hooked up for another deal Monday.

Philadelphia and Denver agreed to a deal that sends reserve center Steven Hunter and second-year forward Bobby Jones to Iverson's Nuggets for forward Reggie Evans and the draft rights to Puerto Rican forward Ricky Sanchez.

The Nuggets knew they were thrusting themselves into luxury-tax territory when they won the Iverson Sweepstakes, but this deal will enable them to shed nearly $8 million in salary.

"This move greatly helps us add depth at our center position while reducing our inventory of power forwards," Mark Warkentien, Denver's vice president of basketball operations, told The Associated Press. "Reggie played a valuable role for us during his time in Denver and we appreciate his professionalism."

The Nuggets also are getting themselves a backup for veteran center Marcus Camby by tapping into their depth at power forward, believing that Evans would have struggled for minutes with Kenyon Martin expected to make his comeback from a second microfracture knee surgery and with Nene Hilario and George Karl favorite Eduardo Najera also ahead of him at the position.

"Steven is an athletic, 7-foot big man, a Mile High runner that can block shots," Warkentien told AP. "We think his presence will provide us with a more balanced roster. Bobby is an intriguing young player, who really played well at the end of the season."

In Evans, Philadelphia lands one of the league's foremost per-minute rebounders. Evans offset his offensive limitations by averaging 7.0 boards in 17.1 minutes per game for the Nuggets last season and has a career average of 7.2 rebounds in just 19.9 minutes.

"He is an accomplished rebounder that we feel will make an immediate impact and will exemplify our commitment to hard work, rebounding and defense," 76ers general manager Billy King told AP.

Sanchez's rights were acquired by the Nuggets along with the draft rights to Linas Kleiza in exchange for the draft rights to Jarrett Jack in a draft-day deal in 2005.

"At 6-11, Ricky Sanchez is a young prospect that has potential and we will continue to monitor his development as he plays overseas," King told AP.

The Sixers weren't finished, agreeing to terms with free agent Calvin Booth. The 6-foot-11 center played in 44 games with Washington last season, averaging 1.6 points and 1.8 rebounds. Booth has a career average of 3.5 points and 2.9 rebounds in eight seasons.

If there's a risk for the 76ers, it's the foot injury suffered by starting center Samuel Dalembert while playing for Canada in the recent pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Las Vegas. Yet King said last week that the club expects Dalembert to be ready for the start of training camp Oct. 2 in Durham, N.C. Dalembert started all 82 games last season.

Hunter has been available via trade for well over a year, after the Sixers nearly dealt him to New Orleans in February 2006. The trade with the Hornets, halfway through Hunter's first season in Philadelphia, would have sent two second-round picks to Philadelphia but was rescinded by the Hornets because of unspecified health concerns. The 7-footer averaged 6.4 points and 4.8 minutes for the Sixers last season, playing 70 games and averaging 22.9 minutes.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics