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Utah Gets Dawkins and Turpin in a Three-Team Trade

October 09, 1987|From Associated Press

The Utah Jazz beefed up its front line with centers Darryl Dawkins and Mel Turpin in a seven-player trade Thursday that also involved the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New Jersey Nets.

The complicated shuffle began with New Jersey sending Dawkins and forward James Bailey to Cleveland for guard John Bagley and forward Keith Lee. The Cavaliers then sent Dawkins and Turpin to Utah for backup center Kent Benson and reserve guard Dell Curry.

"We feel very strongly we had to shore up at the center position," Jazz Coach Frank Layden said. "I felt last season we were very fragile if anything happened to Mark Eaton."

All seven of the players traded were first-round draft picks, but none was a starter at the end of last season.

Dawkins, 30, a 12-year National Basketball Assn. veteran, has a 12.3-points-a-game career scoring average. But the 6-11, 270-pounder has been hampered by injuries the past three seasons, appearing in only six games in 1986-87 and 97 during the past three seasons. Since March 1986, he has had two major back operations in which two disks were removed.

Turpin, 26, a three-year player for Cleveland with a 10.4-point career average, scored 6.1 points a game in 64 games last season. The 6-11 former Kentucky star has had weight problems.

Layden said the move should provide more playing time for Curry, 23, who averaged 4.9 points in his rookie year.

The 6-10 Benson, 32, played in 73 games with the Jazz last season and averaged 4.5 points. The former Indiana player also has played for Milwaukee and Detroit.

Bailey and Lee also have had health problems.

Bailey, 30, acquired by New Jersey from New York last season, missed the final 48 games with a broken hand. The ex-Rutgers standout was drafted in the first round by Seattle in 1979 and was first traded to New Jersey during the 1982-83 season. He played for Houston and New York before returning to the Nets last season. He averaged 8.3 points per game in 34 games last season.

Questions about Lee's health nixed Cleveland's attempt to trade him to Portland last season. The deal was nullified when Portland claimed that Lee, who had knee surgery at age 15, could not pass its physical. A 1985 first-round pick by Chicago, Lee, 24, was traded to Cleveland before the start of the 1985-86 season.

Bagley, 27, entering his sixth NBA season, is expected to provide the Nets with depth at point guard behind Dwayne Washington. Bagley averaged 10.7 points while playing in 72 games last season.

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