by Paul Coro - Dec. 10, 2008 03:59 PM
The Arizona Republic
LOS ANGELES - The Suns acquired dynamic shooting guard Jason Richardson today in a trade with the Charlotte Bobcats that will also bring second-year forward Jared Dudley and a 2010 second-round draft choice to the Suns in exchange for shooting guard Raja Bell, forward Boris Diaw and rookie point guard Sean Singletary.
The deal, pending players passing physicals, brings a new dimension to the Suns' shooting guard position with Richardson, who can hit 3-pointers and be an athletic fit into an uptempo system like he starred in during five seasons with Golden State. The trade call was completed at about 3:45 p.m. Phoenix time today.
"He's athletic and gives us a really potent offensive player," Suns General Manager Steve Kerr said. "He's also an excellent defensive players and he's in his prime. He's a very high-character guy and well-regarded around the league for his professionalism."
Richardson, who turns 28 next month, is a 6-foot-6, 225-pound former two-time slam dunk contest champion who has a season scoring average (18.7) that is in line with his career scoring average (18.8).
Richardson has hit 45.8 percent of his 3-pointers this season and is a good rebounder for a guard, pulling down 4.1 on average this season. The former 2001 No.5 draft pick was moved to Charlotte in a financially driven trade in 2005 but is best known for being the mature captain of the Warriors, who broke a 13-year playoff drought in his final season there.
Richardson makes $12,222,222 this season, $13,333,333 next season and $14,444,444 in 2010-11. Diaw was under contract for $9 million per season through 2011-12. Bell is making $5 million this season and gets $5.25 million next season in his contract's final year.
Dudley, 23, was Charlotte's 2007 first-round pick at No. 22 in 2007 and has started seven of the Bobcats' games this season. He is a 6-foot-7, 225-pound small forward who plays more like a power forward with court savvy and a strong work ethic. He is averaging 5.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.9 steals this season in 21.4 minutes per game.
"I'm high on Dudley," Kerr said. "He's versatile and can guard multiple positions and play like a small four (power forward) or a big three (small forward)."
Dudley is on his rookie deal that pays him $1,222,320 this season, $1,307,640 next season and carries a team option for $2,151,068 in 2010-11.
Bell, 32, was averaging 9.6 points this season, his lowest average since he was with Dallas in 2002-03. Bell, in his fourth year as the Suns' starting shooting guard, is having a good 3-point shooting season at 46.8 percent but is only shooting 42.9 percent overall. The bigger problem was that he had been disgruntled with the early changes that new coach Terry Porter brought and how they affected his role and the team since the start of training camp. He was vocal about his discomfort in and out of the public eye.
Bell, considered the "heart and soul" of the team by Mike D'Antoni in past seasons, enjoyed the best seasons of his career with the Suns. He became a full-time starter for the first time in Phoenix and fired up more than 400 3-point attempts in each of his first three seasons. He was named to the NBA All-Defensive first team for 2006-07 and the All-Defensive second team for last season.
Diaw, 26, was also in his fourth season with the Suns but was posting his lowest averages for points (8.3), rebounds (3.8), assists (2.1) and minutes (24.5). He does have career-best shooting percentages from the field (56.7 percent) and 3-point line (35.7 percent).