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Dirk Nowitzki shares link with the late Robert 'Tractor' Traylor

Text messages from press row.

May 12, 2011|Jerry Crowe
  • Would the Dallas Mavericks be playing in the Western Conference finals if they decided not to trade Robert "Tractor" Traylor, left, to Milwaukee for Dirk Nowitzki in 1998?
Would the Dallas Mavericks be playing in the Western Conference finals… (Jonathan Daniel / Getty…)

The Lakers might still be talking three-peat if the Milwaukee Bucks had kept Dirk Nowitzki after taking the sharpshooting German phenom in the 1998 NBA draft.…

Instead the Bucks traded the No. 9 pick to the Dallas Mavericks in a draft-day deal that brought them No. 6 pick Robert "Tractor" Traylor, found dead Wednesday in Puerto Rico.…

Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle this week called Nowitzki a "top 10 player in NBA history." …

Traylor, whose Michigan team lost to Kris Johnson and UCLA in the 1998 NCAA tournament, was an NBA journeyman.…

Among the short list of NBA most valuable players who have not won a title, one of three probably will break through this spring: Nowitzki, LeBron James or Derrick Rose.…

James Worthy speculated in a radio interview this week that Andrew Bynum's demonstrative removal of his jersey Sunday while leaving the floor in Dallas indicates that the 7-footer no longer wants to wear the purple and gold.…

That's a stretch.…

Dwight Howard, perhaps paving the way for his exit, notes via Twitter: "Y does it seem like the writers of Orlando sentinel are tryna push me out of Orlando with dumb articles. It's annoying.… Same thing you guys did to shaq. smh" …

Smh stands for "shaking my head." …

Jamey Carroll, filling in the gaps, is quietly enjoying a productive season for the sputtering Dodgers.…

Maicer Izturis and the Angels are on pace to finish with a better record than the Dodgers for the sixth time in seven years.…

Like the Lakers, Nicklas Lidstrom and the Detroit Red Wings lost the first three games of their second-round playoff series.

Unlike the Lakers, they won the next three to force a Game 7 on Thursday night against the San Jose Sharks.…

Thanks to Kevin Durant, Zach Randolph and the rest, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies showed Monday that there's no such thing as a bad triple-overtime game.…

Granted, though, it probably didn't play quite as well in the Pacific Northwest, where both teams originated.…

Sean Deveney of the Sporting News, projecting Tyler Honeycutt as a late first-round NBA draft pick, notes that the ex-UCLA forward "should have a solid career as a bench player." …

USC's Nikola Vucevic also is a projected first-round pick.…

Because of trades, neither the Lakers nor Clippers have an opening-round pick next month.…

Chad Ochocinco, his name out of the news for all of about five minutes, says he plans to follow up his Major League Soccer tryout by accepting an invitation to attempt bull riding.…

This, of course, won't be the last time that Chad Ochocinco and bull are used in the same sentence.…

Maybe the fifth time (in November) will be a charm for the Galaxy, which failed to reach the MLS Cup final the previous four times it was contested in Southern California.…

David Beckham's favorite MLS team has made a record six finals appearances, all outside the state.…

Tiger Woods didn't seem to appreciate it, but the gist of Bubba Watson's unsolicited advice to the Nike pitchman surely must have sounded familiar: Just do it.…

Reader Pete Donovan of Palm Desert emails to note that former Beverly Hills High standout Steve Craig, remarried last week to Marie Osmond, was joined in the starting lineup of the 1980-81 BYU basketball team by fellow NBA draft picks Danny Ainge, Greg Kite, Fred Roberts and Steve Trumbo.…

Ex-Lakers guard Flynn Robinson, after having a cancerous brain tumor removed, is recuperating at home in Los Angeles.…

Hosted by former Negro Leagues catcher Willie Forge, a May 21 charity golf tournament at Rio Hondo Golf Course in Downey benefits a minority scholarship fund.…

Information: (562) 884-6508.…

Cam Newton, on his state of readiness for the NFL: "It's not something that's going to be instant, like instant grits. It's more like collard greens that need to sit and wait." …

Carolina Panthers fans will be happy if the Heisman Trophy winner doesn't get his lunch handed to him.

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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