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Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Updated: April 16, 2:38 PM ET
Deal gives Grizzlies a shooter, Magic inside help

Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando dealt for the size it desperately needed, but the Magic had to part with one of its few scorers in return.

Orlando and Memphis pulled off the first big trade before Thursday's NBA deadline, agreeing to a four-player deal Wednesday that sent Mike Miller and Ryan Humphrey from the Magic to the Grizzlies for rookies Drew Gooden and Gordan Giricek.

The Grizzlies also received a first-round pick owed to Orlando by Sacramento and a second-round selection in 2004, while sending an undisclosed amount of cash to the Magic.

The Magic lose Miller's 16.4 points per game, but hope the 6-foot-10 Gooden will fulfill the promise that made him the first power forward selected in last summer's NBA draft. And Giricek, a 25-year-old veteran of European basketball, will be asked to shoulder some of the scoring load with his perimeter shooting.

"We saw an opportunity to move a player we like very much in Mike Miller for two young players that better fill our needs on this particular team,'' Orlando general manager John Gabriel said.

Added Magic coach Doc Rivers: "This is a tough business and Mike was one of my favorites. He, however, was the only way we could improve our basketball team.''

Orlando is giving up its second-leading scorer in Miller, who frequently was the team's primary offensive option behind Tracy McGrady. The Magic never envisioned having to lean on Miller, a small forward, so heavily, but the chronic ankle injury that has indefinitely sidelined forward Grant Hill forced the team's hand.

Without Miller, the Magic are looking to both Gooden and Giricek to relieve some of the pressure on McGrady, the NBA's leading scorer.

Gooden was averaging 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds, both of which ranked fifth among NBA rookies. He appeared in 51 games, making 29 starts, for the Grizzlies.

But Gooden was not regarded as one of coach Hubie Brown's favorite players, and his name had been coming up in trade rumors during recent days as the clock ticked down to Thursday's 3 p.m. ET deadline

Gooden was the fourth overall pick in last year's draft, entering the NBA following his junior season at Kansas.

"If in fact we were going to part ways with someone, we all understood we wanted to get bigger,'' said Gabriel, whose team ranks last in opponent's shooting percentage.

The 6-foot-6 Giricek, a Croatian, is regarded as a good outside shooter who the Magic are eager to plug into their fast-paced offense. He averaged 11.2 points in 49 games for Memphis, including 35 starts.

"We are very excited about the fact that we stick to our playing philosophy of being able to shoot over teams,'' Gabriel said.

Giricek was drafted in the second round by Dallas in 1999, which immediately swapped him to San Antonio. The Grizzlies acquired his rights last summer for a future second-round pick and cash.

Both players could soon start for the Magic, Gabriel said. That would send to the bench Pat Garrity, a 3-point shooting specialist who is sometimes taken advantage of by larger power forwards.

Humphrey, a rookie power forward from Notre Dame, appeared in 35 games for Orlando and averaged 1.8 points. Undersized at 6-feet, 6-inches, he was shooting only 27 percent from the field and lost Rivers' confidence early into the season.

Miller was the NBA's Rookie of the Year in 2001, but he never established the consistency the Magic wanted. On back-to-back nights last week, he scored four points against Detroit, then followed with a season-high 33 at Philadelphia.

Ever since his first season, Miller's name has been bandied about in trade talks as his talent and relatively small contract made him a desirable commodity. Miller is in the third year of a four-year, $10.86-million contract.

"We've got a lot of calls for Mike over the last two years,'' Gabriel said, "but that doesn't mean we were out shopping him.''

The first-round draft pick the Magic surrendered was part of a 1999 transaction that sent Nick Anderson to Sacramento. Anderson was the first player Orlando ever drafted.