Originally created 08/06/99

NBA roundup: Hardaway to Suns



Penny Hardaway was dealt to the Phoenix Suns, Dell Curry burned the Bucks by bolting to Toronto and Calbert Cheaney turned down a trade to Miami and signed with Boston instead.

It was another busy day of player movement in the NBA, with no move bigger than the one sending Hardaway to the Suns for Danny Manning, Pat Garrity and two future first-round draft picks.

"I believe it's the best thing for (Penny) to get a fresh start," Orlando general manager John Gabriel said.

Hardaway also gets a seven-year, $86 million contract, the largest allowed under the league's collective bargaining agreement, and will team with Jason Kidd in a star-studded backcourt.

It was bitter day for the Magic, who parted with the last member of the 1995 team that went to the NBA Finals. It also was a bitter day for the Bucks, who thought they had reached an agreement to keep Curry, the league's most accurate 3-point shooter last season.

"He gave his word two times, than changed his mind," Bucks' general manager Bob Weinhauer said. "I don't want to talk about him."

Cheaney also left someone fuming, turning down a sign-and-trade deal that would have sent him from Washington to Miami. He opted instead to sign with Boston, where he figures to be the replacement for the traded Ron Mercer.

"I had a nice talk with Coach Riley, told him you're a great coach, but it just didn't work out," Cheaney said. "It was just a gut instinct I had. It's tough to explain."

In other news:

-- Seattle apparently dropped out of the bidding for free agent Mitch Richmond and started scrambling to make other moves, even trying to acquire the much maligned Donyell Marshall from Golden State for Hersey Hawkins. That offer was turned down, and the Sonics also got no commitment from free agent forward Gary Trent after making another offer.

-- Miami emerged as the leading candidate to acquire Richmond but needed to find a third team to broker a sign-and-trade deal with the Wizards. The Heat were believed to be willing to part with P.J. Brown in a Richmond deal.

-- Toronto increased its offer to Charles Oakley, offering him about $18 million for three years, while Oakley lowered his asking price to $24 million for three years. The Raptors and Lakers were discussing a sign-and-trade deal that would send the veteran power forward to Los Angeles.

-- Rick Fox signed a six-year deal with the Lakers believed to be worth $25 million.

-- Terry Porter left the Heat and signed with the Spurs, saying he didn't want to commit to Miami because of all the uncertainty over what the roster will look like next season.

-- Shandon Anderson and Jazz remained apart in their contract negotiations, although Utah felt its chances of keeping the shooting guard had improved.

The acquisition of Hardaway was a major coup for the Suns, who had no room under the salary cap to go after free agents, let alone one with his stature.

The Magic had tried to work out a deal with the Lakers, Raptors and a few other teams, but all of them had dropped out of the bidding by the middle of this week.

Hardaway opted out of the final three years of his contract and became a free agent this summer, but only Chicago, the Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto had anywhere near the money available to land him. He made it clear to Magic officials over the past few days that he did not want to return as Orlando -- especially new coach Doc Rivers -- tried in vain to get him to change his mind.

For the Magic, it marked the end of an era. Just a few years ago, the team looked like it would be an enduring Eastern Conference powerhouse when its roster included Hardaway and Shaquille O'Neal.

"Clearly the goal for the franchise is to win a world championship, even though this might not happen next year," Gabriel said. "The trade of Penny Hardaway sets us for the launch of a new era and a new team."

The Magic have traded three starters this offseason, also sending Horace Grant to Seattle and Nick Anderson to Orlando.

Curry got a three-year, $6 million contract. He led the NBA in 3-point accuracy last season, shooting 47.6 percent, and will be teamed in Toronto with Dee Brown, who led the NBA with 135 3-pointers and 349 3-point attempts last season.

"We're getting a player of great character," Toronto general manager Glen Grunwald said. "He'll provide firepower off the bench, we're looking forward to having his veteran presence and his shooting ability."

Celtics coach Rick Pitino didn't commit to inserting Cheaney in his starting lineup, but said the six-year veteran, who played forward and guard for the Wizards last season, would help fill the hole left by Mercer at shooting guard.

Cheaney, 28, averaged 7.7 points per game while shooting 41.4 percent from the field. His best season as a pro was in 1994-1995, when he averaged 16.6 points per game.

"I think it was time for a change," he said. "The last two or three seasons were disappointing for me. It was time for a fresh start."

The SuperSonics negotiated Thursday with free agent guard Vernon Maxwell but did not reach an agreement. Two sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that Seattle also offered Hawkins to the Warriors for Marshall. The Sonics also made an offer to Trent, who played for Dallas last season, that was not immediately accepted.

With Seattle, Golden State and Sacramento out of the Richmond sweepstakes, it appeared Miami was the only team left trying to make a sign-and-trade deal with Washington. The Wizards have already offered Richmond a three-year, $30 million deal.

The Raptors increased their offer to Oakley by $500,000 annually, but the sides remained $2 million apart per year.

"If he had his way, he'd sign with Toronto and be traded to Los Angeles both for the desirable location and the team's closeness to being able to compete for a championship," said Oakley's agent, Charles Grantham. "But he still has no problem staying in Toronto."