11 deals during 16-hour span beat NBA trading deadline

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 28, 2005

The Associated Press

Baron Davis plays in Oakland now. The Spurs have another big man behind Tim Duncan. The Rockets are even older than they were before.

The Knicks added payroll and draft picks, never bothering to pick up the phone to ask about Chris Webber. The 76ers not only got Webber, but also acquired Rodney Rogers from the Hornets and paid for a private jet to fly him from New Orleans to New York so they'd have eight players in uniform.

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Oh yeah, Keith Van Horn, Antoine Walker, Jamal Mashburn, Glenn Robinson, Gary Payton and Nazr Mohammed were among the others dealt Thursday on an unprecedented day of activity as the NBA trading deadline came and went.

When it was over, a 16-hour flurry of swaps included 11 trades involving 35 players.

Clearly, the wide-open race for the championship made the dealmakers ratchet up the dealing.

''What did I give up?'' Sixers general manager Billy King asked with a smile when queried about his reasons for acquiring Webber, a five-time All-Star whose presence was at the heart of the Sacramento Kings' chemistry issues.

Indeed, King didn't give up much - parting with Kenny Thomas, Brian Skinner and Corliss Williamson - to add a player who could tip the balance of power in the weak Atlantic Division.

The Knicks were taken by surprise by the Webber deal, although team president Thomas - reversing his stance from two months ago, before the Knicks went on an extended slide - said he didn't want Webber.

''For us to try to take players right now at this stage of the game who are making in excess of $19 or 20 million and are over the age of 30, those don't work for our strategic plan right now,'' Thomas said. ''I don't think that's the healthy and secure way to go. The way we're going to improve our team is basically through the draft.''

Thomas acquired a pair of No. 1 picks from San Antonio for Nazr Mohammed, who gives San Antonio a solid backup behind Rasho Nesterovic at center and Tim Duncan at power forward.

Davis was traded from New Orleans to Golden State for Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis, Van Horn went from Milwaukee to Dallas for Calvin Booth and Alan Henderson, and Walker went to Boston in a four-player trade, with Gary Payton, Michael Stewart, Tom Gugliotta and a No. 1 pick going to Atlanta.

Rogers and injured forward Mashburn were dealt from New Orleans to Philadelphia for Robinson, who has not played this season. It was the second trade in a span of less than 24 hours by King, who pulled off a blockbuster Wednesday night by acquiring Webber from the Sacramento Kings for forwards Corliss Williamson, Brian Skinner and Kenny Thomas.

''They're going to probably win the Atlantic now,'' Cleveland's LeBron James said. ''It's going to make them one of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference. I know (Allen) Iverson is very happy about it. I'm going to call him and tell him he got an early Christmas present.''

In other deals:

- San Antonio acquired Mohammed and guard Jamison Brewer from New York for forward Malik Rose and two future No. 1 draft picks

- Cleveland acquired guard Jiri Welsch from Boston for a future No. 1 pick.

- New York acquired forward Maurice Taylor from Houston for guard Moochie Norris, forward Vin Baker and a second-round draft pick.

- Houston got guard Mike James and center Zendon Hamilton from Milwaukee for guard Reece Gaines and two future second-round picks.

- Golden State sent center Eduardo Najera, guard Luis Flores and a No. 1 pick to Denver for forward Nikoloz Tskitishvili and guard Rodney White.

- Charlotte dealt veteran Steve Smith to Miami for forward Malik Allen.

Webber was on the telephone with former Michigan teammate Jalen Rose when he received a call from Kings coach Rick Adelman to inform him of the trade.

''He didn't know what to think at the point, but like I was telling him, there's really no power forwards in the East,'' Rose said. ''To get a chance to play with Allen Iverson, I think it's going to be good for him.''

Webber was expected to play his first game for the Sixers on Saturday night against, of all teams, Sacramento.

None of Thursday's deals - making it the busiest deadline day for trades in at least a decade - matched the magnitude of the six-player swap late Wednesday night in which the 76ers got Webber and forwards Michael Bradley and Matt Barnes.

Davis, a two-time All-Star who finished sixth in the NBA in scoring last season, has missed 36 games while struggling with several injuries and is still owed $63 million over the next four years.

The former UCLA star craved a return to California after spending his first 5 1/2 seasons in Charlotte and New Orleans with the Hornets, who drafted him third overall in 1999.

''It was just time for us to part ways,'' Davis said.

The ever-tinkering Mavericks made a surprising move in getting Van Horn, who has been hobbled all season by tendinitis in his right ankle.

''Keith's versatility, experience and shooting ability were the factors for us to make this decision,'' said Donnie Nelson, Dallas' head of basketball operations.