Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Updated: April 16, 2:38 PM ET
Deal gives Grizzlies a shooter, Magic inside help
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando dealt for the size it desperately
needed, but the Magic had to part with one of its few scorers in
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
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.
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
"We are very excited about the fact that we stick to our
playing philosophy of being able to shoot over teams,'' Gabriel
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.