The Houston Rockets and Vancouver Grizzlies have agreed on a 10-player trade that will give the Rockets the rights to Maryland guard Steve Francis, the Grizzlies' first-round pick in the 1999 NBA draft, according to TV reports.
ESPN and KRIV-TV of Houston reported Thursday night that the trade, which would be one of the largest in league history, will be announced today after it is approved by the league.
Besides Francis, the No. 2 pick behind Elton Brand of Duke in June's NBA draft, the Grizzlies also would send Tony Massenburg, Lee Mayberry, Makhtar Ndiaye, Rodrick Rhodes and Michael Smith to the Rockets.
Houston would give up Antoine Carr, Michael Dickerson, Othella Harrington and Brent Price and a future first-round draft pick.
The Grizzlies had been shopping Francis, who averaged 17 points a game last year, to several teams after being unable to sign him.
A federal judge in San Francisco ordered Latrell Sprewell's attorneys to pay $153,000 for arguing a lawsuit that challenged his 68-game suspension for choking his coach in 1997.
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker first dismissed the suit in July 1998, gave Sprewell another chance to remedy its defects, then dismissed it again this March. He said the suit was virtually identical to the previous, meritless case, and called it a misuse of the court system.
Walker ordered the attorneys to pay $113,000 to the NBA's attorneys for their costs of defending against the suit, $35,000 to the Golden State Warriors' attorneys for defense costs, and $5,000 to the court for "this waste of judicial resources."
Sprewell, later traded to the New York Knicks, was suspended for choking his then-Coach P.J. Carlesimo.
Sprewell's lawsuit said his punishment was not authorized by the league's union agreement. He also claimed racial discrimination, saying white players had been treated more leniently for physical attacks and also alleging that the Warriors had insisted on broader rights to terminate his contract than they had demanded in white players' contracts.
Walker's ruling in March said the punishment was authorized and the evidence Sprewell cited, even if proven, would not show his treatment was racially motivated.
Free-agent forward Samaki Walker, 23, signed a two-year, $5.6-million contract with the San Antonio Spurs, according to a published report. The San Antonio Express-News said Walker, the Dallas Mavericks' No. 1 pick in 1996, will fill a void created when Will Perdue left for the Chicago Bulls. Meanwhile, the Mavericks are expected to announce the re-signings of forwards Cedric Ceballos, 30, and Gary Trent, 24, today. . . . The Minnesota Timberwolves re-signed free-agent forward Andrae Patterson, 23, the team said. . . . The Utah Jazz hired Kevin O'Connor as vice president of basketball operations. O'Connor, 51, director of player personnel for the Philadelphia 76ers last year, succeeds Scott Layden, who left Aug. 10 to become general manager of the Knicks.
If Dennis Rodman was expecting to stir a reaction from Laker management after he was quoted Thursday bashing the franchise, he didn't get it.
The Lakers refused to comment on remarks Rodman made to the Orange County Register that the team needed him to win, he expects to be signed by them, that fans want to see him and not Shaquille O'Neil and that Executive Vice President Jerry West should retire.
Rodman, 38, played briefly with the Lakers last season but was waived before the playoffs. Although the Lakers need a power forward, Rodman does not appear to be their choice. Sources around the league say they don't believe West would commit to Rodman again.
Players swapped by the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Houston Rockets if the NBA approves the proposed 10-player trade:
* Forwards--Antoine Carr, Othella Harrington; Guards--Michael Dickerson, Brent Price; Picks--Future first-rounder.
* Forwards--Tony Massenburg, Rodrick Rhodes, Michael Smith, Makhtar Ndiaye; Guards--Steve Francis, Lee Mayberry.