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Payton, Allen in major trade

©Associated Press
February 21, 2003

In a blockbuster five-player deal Thursday at the NBA trading deadline, Ray Allen was sent from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Seattle SuperSonics for Gary Payton and Desmond Mason.

The Sonics also received guards Kevin Ollie and Ronald Murray and a conditional first-round draft pick.

The trade ended Payton's 12 1/2-year career in Seattle and reunited him with coach George Karl. Milwaukee plays at Seattle tonight, but Sonics general manager Rick Sund said neither Payton nor the four others in the trade would play.

The nine-time All-Star guard's contract expires after this season, and the Sonics risked losing him to free agency with nothing in return. Instead, they acquired one of the purest shooters in the game.

Allen, a six-year veteran, three-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist, has spent his entire career with the Bucks.

"We hate trading a player of Ray's caliber and character. He's done a lot for the city of Milwaukee, but everybody gets traded at some point in this league," Bucks general manager Ernie Grunfeld said. "We got two outstanding players for him."

The trade creates a logjam at point guard for the Bucks while causing the opposite problem for the SuperSonics.

Seattle also made a trade with the New Orleans Hornets, exchanging point guard Kenny Anderson for center Elden Campbell.

In the only other deal, Boston sent guard Shammond Williams, a second-round draft pick, and cash to Denver for center Mark Blount and forward Mark Bryant.

"Quite frankly, I'm surprised any deals were made," Atlanta Hawks general manager Pete Babcock said. "The (luxury) tax had added another layer of issues you have to work through. You rarely see a trade just talent-for-talent."

Karl was Payton's coach in Seattle when the SuperSonics lost to the Chicago Bulls in the 1996 NBA Finals. Payton's arrival presumably will force Bucks starter Sam Cassell into a backup role, with sharpshooter Michael Redd taking over Allen's old spot at shooting guard.

Milwaukee has struggled for a season and a half and is seventh in the Eastern Conference with a 27-26 record. Thus, it was shocking to see the Bucks give up Allen, their leading scorer (21.3 ppg).

Grunfeld's asking price was high, getting the Sonics to include one of their most promising youngsters: Mason. The 25-year-old former slam dunk champion was Seattle's best reserve, averaging 14.1 points and 7.0 rebounds. Payton averaged 20.8.

The trade apparently will leave Ollie, a career backup, as the starting point guard for Seattle, which is out of the playoff race.

Magic to start rookies

ORLANDO -- Drew Gooden and Gordan Giricek will start for the Magic today against Chicago, two days after the rookies were obtained in a trade and without practicing.

"We're at a point in the season where we can't wait for anybody, so if they're here, they're starting," coach Doc Rivers said. "You don't have a lot of practice time at this point in the season anyway, so you're better off just letting them get out there and play."

Gooden and Giricek were acquired Wednesday from the Grizzlies for Mike Miller, Ryan Humphrey and a first-round draft pick.

"We're not going to have much of an offense, but I did try to get our guys used to playing random basketball at practice today," Rivers said.

Gooden, a 6-foot-10 forward who averaged 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds, will replace Pat Garrity. Giricek, a 6-6 guard who averaged 11.2 points, will move into Miller's role as second offensive option.

LAKERS: Shaquille O'Neal expects to return to the lineup tonight against Portland after being sidelined three games with a sore left knee and right big toe.

Thursday's games

NETS 98, PACERS 91: Jason Kidd scored 18 of his 31 in the fourth quarter and added 12 assists and nine rebounds in almost single-handedly rallying host New Jersey from a 15-point third-quarter deficit. In yet another chippy game between the teams, six technicals and one flagrant foul were called. Pacers bad boy Ron Artest got the flagrant and a technical.

MAVERICKS 95, SPURS 87: Steve Nash had 29 points and 10 assists as host Dallas ended San Antonio's nine-game winning streak. The Spurs' Tim Duncan left with an eye injury. His status wasn't known.

KINGS 105, CELTICS 83: Doug Christie had 18 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, and Keon Clark had 18 points and nine rebounds as Sacramento improved to 22-5 at home.

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