New Sonics to get more time as illness, injury strike
With illness and injuries sidelining four SuperSonics, the newly acquired Griffin and Newble were expected to get more minutes that they previously thought in their first game with Seattle on Sunday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Seattle was without starting forward Chris Wilcox (flu), reserve swingman Damien Wilkins (wrist) and center Robert Swift (knee). Donyell Marshall, also part of the 11-player trade between Seattle, Chicago and Cleveland just before Thursday's trade deadline, also missed Sunday's game with illness.
"It's changing every day," Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo said of his rotations with the newly acquired players. "It's all just kind of seeing what happens."
The Lakers weren't without their own problems, with starting forward Vladimir Radmanovic out after straining his right calf on Saturday night in the Lakers' 113-95 win over the Clippers. Radmanovic already missed 11 games in January with a sprained right ankle.
Luke Walton started in his place.
"We hope it's day-to-day," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Don't have any understanding of what happened. That's the mystery about it. He was moving at the defensive end and cramped. If it's cramps, it's one thing. If it's a torn or pulled calf, it's another."
Of Seattle's new acquisitions, Newble was perhaps the most stunned, going from last year's Eastern Conference champs and being a teammate of LeBron James in Cleveland to a Sonics team destined for the lottery yet again.
Newble, Griffin and Marshall came to Seattle as part of Thursday's blockbuster deal that saw Seattle send Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West to Cleveland. The Sonics also acquired Francisco Elson and a 2009 first-round pick from San Antonio in a trade for Kurt Thomas a day earlier.
Newble had started 13 of 41 games with Cleveland and played at least 20 minutes in six of Cleveland's last eight games. Newble watched all the rumors on the Internet circulate in the days leading up to the trade deadline, but was still shocked when his agent called at 2:59 p.m. Eastern time to let him know the trade was going through.
"It was a shock at first, but it's part of the business. You have to adjust quick," Newble said. "It's a good opportunity I have for a team with young guys that need to grow."
Griffin had played in just 28 games with Chicago.
Wilkins injured his wrist taking a hard fall in Friday's win over Portland, but still had 13 points off the bench. Newble, Griffin and Mickael Gelabale will pickup Wilkins' minutes.
The outlook for Swift is murky, after the young center tore the meniscus in his right knee Thursday night in Portland. He will have a second opinion in Los Angeles, but that exam has not been scheduled.
Both Elson and Marshall will likely share the minutes initially earmarked for Swift in the final two months of the season.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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