Nuggets Try To Make A Deal For Corey Maggette
By Jason Reid, Times Staff Writer
November 3, 2006



Apparently, the Denver Nuggets don't give up easily.

After failing in their efforts to acquire swingman Corey Maggette in the summer, Denver has continued to express interest in a multiplayer trade with the Clippers, sources said Thursday.

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General Manager Elgin Baylor does not comment on trade talks, but the Nuggets are willing to include guard J.R. Smith as the centerpiece of their proposal for Maggette, the sources said.

Forward Joe Smith also is among the players Denver has considered moving for Maggette, who led the Clippers in scoring in the 2004-05 season. Others teams have also contacted the Clippers about Maggette.

At this point, however, the Clippers are not interested in trading the seven-year veteran, but things could change.

In Wednesday's 112-104 season-opening loss to the Phoenix Suns, Maggette played fewer than seven minutes and did not score. Maggette suffered from a bout of food poisoning and received fluids intravenously at a Phoenix-area hospital before the game, but "it was coach's decision not to play me," Maggette said. "I told him before the game that I could go. I made myself available for the team."

It appeared Maggette wasn't at full strength, so Coach Mike Dunleavy said he didn't want to push him.

Barring injuries to others, Maggette, respected for his dedication to conditioning and determination for rehabilitation after injuries, is expected to average fewer minutes than he has in the previous four seasons.

Maggette averaged personal-bests at 22.2 points and 36.9 minutes in the 2004-05 season, but the Clippers have changed and improved since then. Maggette has remained focused on the bigger picture, saying he wants "to do whatever I can to help my teammates and help us win," but his outlook might not remain as positive if he is deep on the bench the first month of the season.

There has been speculation the Clippers would trade Maggette for a first-round draft choice, but "that's not going to happen," a high-ranking team official said recently.

Hearing his name involved in trade speculation doesn't bother Maggette.

"It's positive when other teams want you, it's not a negative," Maggette said. "I haven't done anything negative, I just play hard every game.

"If it's not my place to be here, then that's just the way it is. That's how I look at the whole picture."

jason.reid@latimes.com