Detroit trades Clifford Robinson to Golden State for Sura

Updated: August 21, 2003, 8:29 PM ET

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Detroit Pistons traded forward Clifford Robinson and guard Pepe Sanchez to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday for guard Bob Sura.

The trade cleared the logjam in the Pistons' frontcourt while adding depth and veteran experience to the Warriors' revamped roster. Detroit got a swingman to replace Jon Barry, and Golden State erased another big contract from its payroll.

"It addresses several fronts for us all by doing this one move," Pistons president Joe Dumars said.

It's also another rebuilding move by the Warriors, who still aren't done trimming their payroll and changing their roster. They have just five players left from last season's team, which won 38 games and showed the greatest promise in a decade from a franchise that has missed the playoffs for nine straight seasons.

Robinson, a 14-year NBA veteran known as one of the league's top defensive forwards, averaged 9.3 points, 2.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds last season as a starter for the Pistons, who made the Eastern Conference finals. He is joining his fourth team, following stints in Portland and Phoenix.

"He can really help our young guys on the floor and during practice," Golden State general manager Garry St. Jean said. "He's obviously one of the better defensive forwards that have played in the league for a long time."

Robinson has been in the playoffs every season of his career, but he has historically struggled in the postseason -- and his dismal performance during Detroit's run to the conference finals was no exception.

That's probably a moot point with the Warriors, who have made several major changes to their once-promising roster -- largely to give them more flexibility with a payroll burdened by several long-term contracts. The moves were set in motion when Gilbert Arenas signed with Washington as a free agent last month for more than the cap-strapped Warriors could pay.

"We've lost some people that we have a wealth of respect for," St. Jean said. "But we think we've brought in some quality players to go with some other guys and give us a chance to be very competitive this year."

On Monday, the Warriors traded leading scorer Antawn Jamison, disgruntled forward Danny Fortson, Chris Mills and Jiri Welsch to the Dallas Mavericks for guard Nick Van Exel and four others. Earlier, sparkplug guard Earl Boykins signed with Denver.

Sura averaged 7.3 points, 3.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds for the Warriors last season as a backup at shooting guard and small forward. His versatility and tenacious perimeter defense attracted Detroit -- and so did his contract, which is worth $6.16 million this season, but expires next summer.

Barry signed with Denver earlier in the week. New acquisition Elden Campbell, first-round draft pick Darko Milicic and veterans Ben Wallace, Zeljko Rebraca and Mehmet Okur constitute a deep frontcourt.

"We have somebody who, in terms of how he plays, is almost a Jon Barry clone," Dumars said of Sura. "It's just trying to do little things that help your team get over the hump. That's what all of this is: to get Sura, to get Campbell and to get Darko. All of this is in hopes of taking that one more step."

Sanchez, a native of Argentina who played at Temple, appeared in just nine games for the Pistons last season. He could find it tough to make the Warriors' roster with competition from Van Exel, free agent signee Speedy Claxton, second-round draft pick Derrick Zimmerman and veteran Avery Johnson.

"I guess I'll be the third point guard, but I don't know," Sanchez said at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico, where he learned of the trade from reporters. "In the NBA I know I'm a commodity and can be traded at any time. We'll see what happens if I'll play in Golden State or where."

At least one of Golden State's new acquisitions might not be happy with his new career path: St. Jean said he hasn't spoken with Van Exel since the trade.

"We're just kind of giving some space here," St. Jean said. "It's hard when you get traded from a team with that caliber. There's plenty of time to converse. I just want to respect their feelings."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index