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Frank Slade
01-13-2006, 09:31 AM
NBA Insider: GMs build trade list of big names and rising talents
By Joe Davidson -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PST Friday, January 13, 2006


Story appeared in Sports section, Page C5

The trade winds are whipping. Rumors are bouncing around like tumbleweeds looking to get lodged in someone's radiator.
Here are five players who have been mentioned as trade bait, listed in order of likelihood:


1. Ron Artest, Indiana - The mercurial forward has much to offer in terms of versatility, passion, youth and salary. But have you heard of the baggage he packs? Still, there are coaches certain they can rehabilitate the man. For now, everyone's in denial about where he might land, with Golden State coach Mike Montgomery saying last week before the Pacers walloped his team, "Picture me as Sgt. Schultz - 'I know nothinnnnnnnnggggg!' "
2. Ruben Patterson, Portland - He calls himself "Rube" (and it's right there on his wristbands). Some general manager might call him a real boost. Patterson is a blur of a swingman at 6-foot-5 and 223 pounds. He attacks the rim, defends and dives into the stands. He's also prone to irritating his coaches and drawing suspensions, and explained earlier this season the reason for his verbal ire. "It was like the devil hit me and told me to get it out," he said.

3. Earl Watson, Denver - He sat on the Nuggets' bench earlier this season as the odd man out in a three-guard rotation but since has emerged as a steady floor leader who can defend.

4. Corey Maggette, L.A. Clippers - He has been sidelined with ligament problems in his left foot for a chunk of the season, but teams have expressed an interest in the swingman because he can run and defend, and he's a capable scorer.

5. Paul Pierce, Boston - Every so often, Pierce drops trade hints, then insists he wants to be a career Celtic. With Boston lurching along, maybe the Celtics finally pull the trigger. He has tremendous value as a scorer, but he also comes with a hefty salary ($13.8 million this season and $15 million next season).


Quote 'em
Five telling sound bites from the last week:

1. Jermaine O'Neal - On whether the Pacers would be better off obtaining a Peja Stojakovic type: "We're more of a defensive team, and he's more of an offensive player. He's a great shooter, though." (He also said he'd prefer Bonzi Wells for the defense.)

2. Brad Miller - On how the Kings center can see himself finishing his career with his hometown Pacers: "If it's possible when I'm done with this (contract that runs through 2009-10), I'll try to finish up there. There won't be an issue of a contract. Whatever it takes. I'll take the minimum. I got more money saved up now than what I can spend the rest of my life."

3. Bobby Jackson - The Memphis guard on how much the Kings miss him: "Oh, most definitely they could use me this year. They don't have anyone coming off the bench who can score or give them energy like I did. (Memphis president) Jerry West told me right away that they made a mistake in letting me go."

4. Sam Cassell - The Clippers guard on Artest's complexities, to the Los Angeles Times: "I understand him. I played with Vernon Maxwell."

5. Gregg Popovich - The San Antonio coach on his team's 27-8 start, second-best to Detroit, to ESPN: "We're not playing with that kind of fuel and purpose right now."

http://www.sacbee.com/content/sports/story/14068359p-14899096c.html