- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 24, 2005


The weakest division in the NBA suddenly looks a little stronger, with Antoine Walker back on the Celtics and Chris Webber in Philadelphia.

The NBA trade deadline came and went yesterday with a total of 11 deals involving 31 players being agreed to in the final 24 hours before the cutoff.

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Baron Davis was traded from New Orleans to Golden State for Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis, Keith Van Horn went from Milwaukee to Dallas for Calvin Booth and Alan Henderson, and Houston acquired several veterans to add to the league’s oldest roster.

Walker went to Boston in a four-player trade, with Gary Payton, Michael Stewart, Tom Gugliotta and a No. 1 pick going to Atlanta.

Rodney Rogers and injured forward Jamal Mashburn were dealt from New Orleans to Philadelphia for Glenn Robinson, who has not played this season. It was the second trade in a span of less than 24 hours by 76ers general manager Billy King, who pulled off a blockbuster Wednesday night by acquiring Webber from the Sacramento Kings for forwards Corliss Williamson, Brian Skinner and Kenny Thomas.

“They’re going to probably win the Atlantic now,” Cleveland’s LeBron James said. “It’s going to make them one of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference. I know [Allen] Iverson is very happy about it. I’m going to call him and tell him he got an early Christmas present.”

In other deals:

• San Antonio acquired center Nazr Mohammed and guard Jamison Brewer from New York for forward Malik Rose and two future No. 1 draft picks.

• Cleveland acquired guard Jiri Welsch from Boston for a future No. 1 pick.

• New York acquired forward Maurice Taylor from Houston for guard Moochie Norris, forward Vin Baker and a second-round draft pick.

• Houston got guard Mike James and center Zendon Hamilton from Milwaukee for guard Reece Gaines and two future second-round picks.

There were two other trades awaiting league approval:

• Golden State sending center Eduardo Najera to Denver for forward Nicoloz Tskitishvili.

• Charlotte dealing veteran Steve Smith to Miami for forward Malik Allen.

Webber was on the telephone with former Michigan teammate Jalen Rose when Webber received a call from Kings coach Rick Adelman to inform him of the trade.

“He didn’t know what to think at the point, but like I was telling him, there’s really no power forwards in the East,” Rose said. “To get a chance to play with Allen Iverson, I think it’s going to be good for him.”

Webber is expected to play his first game for the Sixers tomorrow night against, of all teams, Sacramento.

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