Tinsley to Nuggets? Possibly Monday
Pacers would get guard Adkins, center Hunter in the purported trade
By Mike Wells
Embattled point guard Jamaal Tinsley remained an Indiana Pacer on Friday, but there is a "strong possibility" he could be traded to the Denver Nuggets as early as Monday, a person familiar with the situation said.
A second person confirmed trade discussions were ongoing and said the Pacers will look for another partner if it falls through.
Both teams denied a report Friday morning that the deal already was done, pending Tinsley passing a physical. Nuggets coach George Karl told Denver reporters he laughed at the possibility.
"I don't think there's anything to it," Karl said.
"It's erroneous," Nuggets vice president of basketball operations Mark Warkentien told ESPN.com. "Did Dewey beat Truman?"
Pacers president Larry Bird issued a statement through a team spokesman saying they're "not going to comment on trade rumors" involving their players.
The proposed deal would send point guard Chucky Atkins and center Steven Hunter to the Pacers. Both would have backup roles with the Pacers.
Atkins will make $3.2 million this season and $3.5 million next season, with $760,000 of it guaranteed. He is expected to be out until at least next month following right knee surgery last month. The 7-foot Hunter will make $3.9 million this season and $3.7 million next season. Tinsley will make $21.5 million over the next three seasons. The trade would benefit both teams. The Nuggets need a point guard, and the Pacers would save money, get two players with shorter contracts and, more important, end their relationship with Tinsley.
The trade, however, also would give the Pacers 17 players under contract, two more than the NBA allows. They would have to release or trade two players by the Oct. 27 deadline. They would have to release or trade another if Austin Croshere makes the team.
Tinsley's past three seasons have been marked by injuries limiting his availability and several off-court issues that negatively impacted the franchise. Coach Jim O'Brien lost confidence in Tinsley after last season, and the Pacers told him to stay away from the team while they pursued a trade.
"Unfortunately for Jamaal, some things happened off the court that basically led to this situation," said center Jeff Foster, who has been Tinsley's teammate since 2001. "I think it's best for both parties to go their separate ways, and I think he probably feels the same way. He's probably anxious for something to happen and start new somewhere."