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Clippers Say It Is 50-50 They'll Get Miller in Trade

June 26, 2002|Elliott Teaford | From Staff and Wire Reports

Another day passed and the Clippers were no closer to knowing precisely what they will do tonight with their first-round picks in the NBA draft. They have the eighth and 12th overall selections, but have an interest in dealing with the Cleveland Cavaliers for standout point guard Andre Miller.

The word from the Clippers was only that talks continued Tuesday and will continue today. A Clipper spokesman put the chances of a completed deal at 50-50, the same figures Miller gave to an Ohio newspaper.

"It's something that could happen," Miller told the Akron Beacon Journal. "That's between my agent, the coaches and [General Manager] Jim Paxson to decide whether it happens. It's out of my hands."

It's up to the Cavaliers to determine whether to part with Miller as the first step in an overhaul of their roster.

The Clippers want Miller--or a point guard with similar shooting and ballhandling skills--and are poised to give up draft picks, plus a player on their roster.

There have been strong indications that they will not re-sign Jeff McInnis, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent Monday.

Small forward Corey Maggette and shooting guard Quentin Richardson have been mentioned in recent reports as players the Clippers would give up. The Clippers say they would have a difficult time letting either go because of the bond that has been developed in the last few seasons.

Miller was born and raised in Los Angeles, went to Verbum Dei High and was the eighth overall pick in the 1999 draft after four seasons at the University of Utah.

Although Miller averaged 16.5 points and a league-leading 10.9 assists, the Cavaliers were 29-53 and did not advance to the playoffs last season.

Elliott Teaford

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The Washington Wizards traded guard Courtney Alexander to the New Orleans Hornets for the 17th pick in the NBA draft.

Washington will have two first-round picks tonight, including its own at No. 11.

Alexander, 25, was acquired by the Wizards in February 2001 in a seven-player trade that sent Juwan Howard to the Dallas Mavericks.

In 121 NBA games, he averaged 9.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists. Last season, in 56 games, half of which were starts, he averaged 9.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

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A judge found Houston Rocket guard Steve Francis innocent of drunken driving, concluding there was reasonable doubt whether the player was legally intoxicated.

Harris County Court-at-Law Judge James Anderson exonerated Francis after a two-day bench trial in Houston. Francis, 25, was arrested before dawn Dec. 16 after police said he turned left against a red light.

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Uncertain over playing time, guard Chauncey Billups of the Minnesota Timberwolves opted out of the final $2.7-million season of his three-year contract and will become a free agent.

Billups averaged 12.5 points, 5.5 assists and 28.7 minutes last season, largely in a starter's role after Terrell Brandon had season-ending knee surgery in February.

Billups' agent said his client wants to start for a championship-caliber team, and the uncertainty surrounding Brandon was a major factor in his decision.

Billups' decision further muddies an uncertain situation at point guard for the Timberwolves. Seldom-used reserve Will Avery's contract has expired and Brandon's future is unclear.

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The Denver Nuggets waived veteran guard Tim Hardaway, 35, who played in only 14 games with them after being acquired from Dallas. He averaged 9.6 points and 5.5 assists in Denver.

Associated Press

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