Mavs trade Diop to Bobcats

Updated: January 16, 2009, 8:14 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

The Dallas Mavericks and Charlotte Bobcats have reached an agreement after last week's collapse of a three-way deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

This one, however, does not involve Bobcats guard Raymond Felton.

The Mavericks and Bobcats completed a deal sending Dallas center DeSagana Diop to Charlotte for guard Matt Carroll and center Ryan Hollins on Friday.

DeSagana Diop
Diop

It was roughly this time last week, according to NBA front-office sources, that Charlotte, Dallas and Oklahoma City put the pieces in place on a three-team deal that would have sent Felton, Nazr Mohammed and Sean May from Charlotte to Dallas, landed Oklahoma City's Earl Watson and Diop with the Bobcats and shipped Mavs veteran Jerry Stackhouse to the Thunder along with a future second-round pick.

But that deal crumbled for at least two reasons. Charlotte lost rookie point guard D.J. Augustin indefinitely to an abdominal injury for starters, making the Bobcats hesitant to part with Felton. Sources with knowledge of the talks, meanwhile, later indicated that Oklahoma City had interest in Felton as well when the Thunder found out that Felton was in the trade, further unraveling the trade.

The Bobcats and Mavericks thus resumed talks this week without the Thunder, but couldn't agree on a new arrangement involving Felton without Watson or another team joining in.

Although Friday's trade is considerably smaller in scale than the original, it's hardly surprisingly given the well-known needs for both teams.

The Mavericks were desperate for weak-side shooters, with Dallas lacking a consistent perimeter threat beyond leading scorers Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry, leading to Nowitzki and Terry being frequently swarmed by opposing defenses.

And Charlotte had been trying to add Diop to their front line as a defensive specialist since he was a free agent last summer. ESPN.com reported in July that the Bobcats offered Diop the same five-year deal worth more than $32 million that the 7-foot center wound up signing with the Mavericks.

"I think I needed to go somewhere to get a lot more minutes," Diop said of Friday's trade. "I wanted to play. It was very frustrating."

First-year Bobcats coach Larry Brown was vocal about his desire to bring in a true center to play alongside power forward Emeka Okafor and recent newcomer Boris Diaw, whose arrival has led to immediate improvement from Okafor and Gerald Wallace. Entering Friday's play, Charlotte was 8-8 with Diaw in the lineup.

Carroll -- who is in the third season of a six-year, $27 million deal -- is shooting only 27 percent from 3-point range this season but is a career 40-percent shooter from distance.

The 7-foot Hollins played limited minutes for Charlotte and was included in the deal to get the salaries to match. The Bobcats will be taking on Diop's contract, which runs through 2011-12 season.

"He's going to create some flexibility for us," Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins said. "Just having another 7-footer is always good.

"When we started the season we had six players at the shooting guard and the small forward," Higgins said. "We made a couple of trades and we've moved our roster around. We'll see how this goes. We also have flexibility of another roster spot."

Diop is scheduled to arrive in Charlotte late Saturday and will not play against the Trail Blazers.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.

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