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Christie Goes to Knicks : Pro basketball: Lakers get two second-round picks for former Pepperdine star.


HONOLULU — Doug Christie the point guard, Doug Christie the small forward, Doug Christie the shooting guard became Doug Christie the New York Knick here Thursday.

The Lakers got second-round draft picks in 1997 and '98 for the versatile, athletic swingman, who changes coasts and conferences but isn't able to dodge problems. He still will be recovering from August ankle surgery when he reports to New York early next week and will probably start the season on the injured list and will be fighting for minutes, either with all-star John Starks at shooting guard or Charles Smith and Anthony Mason at small forward.

So ends a Laker career that never really got started. The former Pepperdine star came from Seattle along with Benoit Benjamin in a trade for Sam Perkins on Feb. 22, 1993, in the midst of a nasty rookie contract holdout. He signed and then played 23 games between March 12 and the end of the season. That summer he was moved from point guard to small forward, only to sit out most of camp a year ago because of a badly sprained ankle.

He returned to action early in the season and went into the starting lineup, then was sidelined because of another sprained ankle in January.

Rookie George Lynch took advantage of that opportunity and played so well that Christie was soon playing shooting guard. He finished last season there, getting 65 appearances in all. Then came the surgery to remove calcium deposits and a third consecutive year with little or no training camp.

"I don't think frustration is the word I would use," Christie said. "It would have been a nice situation for me, being that I went to school in L.A. Now I'm with a team that has a real legitimate shot to win a championship, and basketball is about winning.

"I think when I was healthy, I was playing fantastic basketball. Then I got hurt (in January) and lost some confidence, and it was tough really."

That lost confidence--and lost time--meant he was trying to play catch-up in a very competitive situation with Anthony Peeler, Eddie Jones, Tony Smith and Sedale Threatt at shooting guard.

"It was a situation where we had too many guards and it came down to a numbers game," said Christie, who agreed to alter his 1994-95 salary by about $100,000 to get the deal done. That money will be returned in later years of the contract.

"I wasn't in camp to be able to defend myself, if you want to look at it in those terms."

Said Jerry West, the Lakers' executive vice president: "At the time we traded for him, we had a much greater need than we do today."

Christie has potential, but he became the odd man out because he proved too erratic on offense, frustrating the Lakers by trying to make the highlight-reel move instead of the high-percentage play. The arrival of Cedric Ceballos and the continued solid contributions from Lynch meant he couldn't go back to small forward, and the play of Peeler and Jones quickly turned that into a two-man race for the starting job. So, barring significant improvement after last season, Christie would have been third string at best at shooting guard.

Several teams, among them Utah and Atlanta, talked with the Lakers about getting Christie, 24, but interest was tough to turn into reality because suitors had to be able to take his 1994-95 contract of about $1.35 million and send only a $190,000 player in return because of a salary-cap technicality. That meant the exchange would have to involve draft picks.

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