Clippers Reap Mother Lode at Draft


Thursday, June 29th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers made themselves better, the Orlando Magic cleared cap space and the New Jersey Nets hung on to their No. 1 pick, a teary-eyed Kenyon Martin.

It was a night of surprises at the NBA draft, with a total of nine trades, and a couple more expected to be completed Thursday.

The Clippers walked away with Darius Miles, Corey Maggette, Derek Strong, Keyon Dooling, Quentin Richardson and Sean Rooks in one of the most dramatic draft-day makeovers in league history.

``It was a wonderful day,'' general manager Elgin Baylor said. ``We got a bunch of young, talented players and a few veterans. I think we're very talented and very athletic and pretty deep at every position. The good part is, we're going to have a lot of these players at least five years.''

Orlando started the night with three lottery picks, but traded two of them — along with Maggette and Strong — to get $21 million under the salary cap.

The Magic can now make an unfettered run at free agents Grant Hill and Tim Duncan, and if they sign both, they'll still have another $2.5 million to throw at another free agent.

Orlando also has eight first-round picks stockpiled the next four years. And if Hill and-or Duncan decide not to come, maximum salary deals can be offered to other free agents such as Eddie Jones, Tracy McGrady and Jalen Rose.

``In our transactions, we not only secured some additional room, we also pushed some assets into future,'' general manager John Gabriel said. ``The best we can do is prepare and take our best kick at the can when it comes.''

The Nets took a look at all the trade offers they received and decided to reject them and select Martin, the consensus college player of the year from Cincinnati. Martin broke down in tears as he was selected.

``People deal with different situations in different ways,'' said the 6-foot-9 center-forward whose collegiate career was ended prematurely by a broken leg. ``That was my way of dealing with it.''

Stromile Swift of LSU went second to Vancouver, and Miles gave commissioner David Stern a hug and a pat on the back of the head after going third to the Clippers.

The Chicago Bulls had six of the first 34 picks and made one trade, sending the seventh pick, Texas center Chris Mihm, to Cleveland for the eighth pick, Michigan guard Jamal Crawford, and cash.

Dallas made four trades, including getting Fresno State's Courtney Alexander with Orlando's 13th pick. The Mavericks also acquired John Wallace and Florida forward Donnell Harvey from the Knicks and veteran guard Eric Murdock from the Clippers.

The selection of Swift started a string in which the next 10 picks were all underclassmen. A record 18 underclassmen were selected in the first round, and four foreign centers were picked consecutively late in the first round.

After Miles went third, Chicago took Iowa State forward Marcus Fizer fourth. Mike Miller of Florida went fifth to Orlando, and Cincinnati guard DerMarr Johnson went sixth to Atlanta.

Next came Mihm and Crawford, who were swapped for each other.

``We thought Crawford would be taken as high as fourth — we liked him that much,'' Bulls coach Tim Floyd said. ``We've always liked big guards here. We liked the guard, they wanted the big guy.''

The trade left the Bulls without a center, although they picked up 7-1 Croat Dalibor Bagaric at No. 24.

The selection of Joel Pryzbilla by the Houston Rockets with the ninth pick brought boos from the crowd at the Target Center still upset that the 7-1 sophomore center who played locally at Minnesota quit the team late in the season. Houston later traded Pryzbilla to Milwaukee for the 15th pick, Georgia Tech center Jason Collier, and a future No. 1.

Dooling went 10th and UCLA power forward Jerome Moiso went at No. 11 to Boston.

With the next two picks, the Mavericks took Syracuse forward Etan Thomas and Alexander, who led the nation in scoring with a 24.8 average.

The Detroit Pistons selected Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves with the 14th pick, keeping the captain of the national champions in-state.

``I'm still pinching myself from that championship, and now I have to continue pinching myself for getting picked by Detroit,'' Cleaves said. ``I feel like I'm in a fairy tale. I'm getting spoiled. It's like everything is going my way.''

At No. 16, 21-year-old Hidayet Turkoglu of Istanbul, Turkey, went to Sacramento. Seattle took Oklahoma State swingman Desmond Mason, the Clippers got Richardson, Charlotte took Kentucky center Jamaal Magliore, and Philadelphia took Hofstra guard Speedy Claxton at No. 20.

Toronto selected Michigan State forward Morris Peterson at No. 21 despite needing a point guard.

The Knicks grabbed Harvey, 20, and later traded him and Wallace to Dallas for point guard Erick Strickland and the final pick of the second round, Cincinnati's Pete Mickeal. The Utah Jazz followed by taking 19-year-old DeShawn Stevenson of Washington Union H.S. in Fresno, Calif.

Next came four foreign big men: Bagaric to the Bulls, 7-foot-2 Iakovos Tsakalidis of Greece to Phoenix, 7-foot Mamadou N'Diaye of Auburn by way of Senegal to Denver and 7-foot Primoz Brezec of Slovenia to Indiana.

Erick Barkley of St. John's went 28th to Portland, and the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers took Stanford forward Mark Madsen with the final pick of the first round.

The Bulls got Connecticut guard Khalid El-Amin and center Jake Voskuhl with two of their three second-round picks. Oklahoma forward Eduardo Najera of Mexico who was taken by Houston at No. 38 and then traded to Dallas for the No. 31 pick, Vanderbilt forward Dan Langhi.

Duke guard Chris Carrawell dropped to the Spurs at No. 41, and Nigerian center Olumide Oyedeji fell to No. 42 and was picked by Seattle.

Auburn's Chris Porter dropped to No. 55 and was taken by Golden State, and Ohio State's Scoonie Penn went at No. 57 to Atlanta