Sunday, January 11, 2009
Sources: Augustin's injury affects deal
By Marc Stein
The Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder put the pieces in place for a three-team trade late last week, but NBA front-office sources said Sunday that those talks have gone "dormant."
Sources told ESPN.com that the full deal, as originally constructed, would have sent Raymond Felton, Nazr Mohammed and Sean May from Charlotte to Dallas, landed Earl Watson and Dallas' DeSagana Diop with the Bobcats and shipped Jerry Stackhouse to the Thunder along with a future second-round pick.
The Boston Globe reported in its Sunday editions that a trade headlined by Felton and Watson was "in the works," but sources with knowledge of the talks told ESPN.com on Friday and again Sunday that the discussions have gone quiet.
"Dormant is a good word," one source said.
It was unclear Sunday night if the trade can still be resurrected or revised, but sources say one impediment is an injury suffered in Tuesday's victory over Boston by Bobcats rookie guard D.J. Augustin, which could suddenly make Charlotte reluctant to part with Felton. Augustin is expected to miss at least 10 days after he aggravated the abdominal injury in Saturday's victory over Washington.
If the trade can be revived, Watson would be moving to Charlotte as a veteran backup to Augustin, whose emergence has led many executives around the league to presume that Felton would be moved before the league's Feb. 19 trading deadline. Felton is playing on an expiring contract that pays him $4.1 million this season and will be a restricted free agent this summer.
The Bobcats, furthermore, have been to trying to add Diop to their front line as a defensive specialist since he was a free agent last summer. As ESPN.com reported in July, Charlotte offered Diop the same five-year deal worth more than $32 million that the 7-foot center wound up signing with the Mavericks.
Dallas has been shopping Stackhouse, Diop and Brandon Bass for weeks in hopes of acquiring a player of Felton's caliber. But if he winds up going to Dallas, Felton would have to fit into a rotation of lead guards which already features Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and J.J. Barea.
Mohammed and May -- whose conditioning has been repeatedly criticized by first-year Bobcats coach Larry Brown -- were earmarked in last week's trade talks as replacements for Diop to back up Mavs center Erick Dampier.
The possibility of Stackhouse winding up with the Thunder has been discussed for weeks, sources said, with that scenario first surfacing in a standard two-team deal that would have sent Watson to Dallas. Stackhouse, 34, has played in only eight games this season but can be bought out next season for $2 million, making the former All-Star's current $7 million salary a virtual expiring contract.
If these three-way talks dissolve completely, Dallas is expected to continue to push hard for at least one trade before the February deadline, with Stackhouse's cap-friendly contract and possibly another former All-Star -- swingman Josh Howard -- in play.
"Dallas is talking to everyone," one rival executive said.
Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here.