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Mavericks Get Walker

October 21, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

The Dallas Mavericks bulked up an already strong offense Monday, acquiring All-Star forward Antoine Walker from the Boston Celtics in a five-player trade.

The Celtics agreed to take center Raef LaFrentz and the six seasons left on a $69-million, seven-year contract signed before last season.

The Celtics also get Jiri Welsch and Chris Mills, players the Mavericks acquired in an off-season trade that brought Antawn Jamison from Golden State, and Dallas' first-round pick in 2004. The Mavericks will get guard Tony Delk from Boston.

"It's not every day that a 27-year-old All-Star becomes available," said Donnie Nelson, Dallas' president of basketball operations.

Nelson struck the deal with Danny Ainge, who became Boston's head of basketball operations in May. The two are close friends, with Nelson having been an assistant to Ainge in Phoenix.

Between his jobs with the Suns and Celtics, Ainge was a TV analyst and he said on the air he did not like Walker's game. Since joining Boston, he said he had no intention of trading Walker.

Now Walker, a three-time All-Star who averaged 17.3 points and 8.7 rebounds last season, goes from playing alongside one high scorer in Paul Pierce to being joined by four: Dallas' nucleus of Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash and Michael Finley, plus Jamison, who was added in August.

"I'm looking forward to doing whatever it takes to win a championship," Walker said. "My total mind-set has changed. You've got a legitimate shot of winning the championship."

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Chris Webber of the Sacramento Kings and Jason Richardson of the Golden State Warriors probably will be suspended for the start of the NBA season because of their separate legal cases.

Russ Granik, the NBA's deputy commissioner, gave no further details on possible punishments during a conference call.

Webber pleaded guilty to charges of lying to a grand jury about his relationship with a Michigan booster who contended he lent $616,000 to Webber and three other Wolverines.

Richardson was convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge stemming from an assault on his ex-girlfriend.

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Warrior guard Nick Van Exel underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in Dallas and is expected to sit out three weeks.... The Washington Wizards exercised the fourth-year options on the contracts of forward Kwame Brown and center Brendan Haywood, which will keep them there through 2004-05.

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ESPN, as expected, has shuffled its NBA announcing teams. Brad Nessler, who had teamed with Bill Walton and Tom Tolbert last season, will continue as lead play-by-play announcer, but will have a new partner, Sean Elliott. They will usually be joined by Dan Majerle, formerly of TNT.

Walton will be paired with new play-by-play announcer Mike Breen. Tolbert will be part of a team that includes Mike Tirico on play-by-play and new commentator George Karl.

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