AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Mateen Cleaves, a homegrown star who led Michigan State to a national title before going to Detroit as a No. 1 draft choice, was traded to Sacramento on Friday.
The Pistons traded Cleaves, who led the Spartans to the 2000 championship, for guard Jon Barry and a future No. 1 draft pick.
"Sometimes you have to do things that aren't going to be popular," Pistons president Joe Dumars said. "But we think we upgraded our backcourt and we were able to add a first-round pick."
Cleaves will join former Michigan star Chris Webber, who chose to re-sign with the Kings during the offseason after considering coming home to play in Detroit. Cleaves will backup Mike Bibby and battle Bobby Jackson for playing time.
"Mateen's a very physical, young point guard who is obviously still very early in his career," said Geoff Petrie, the Kings' president of basketball operations. "He gives us additional depth and insurance at a very important position in our league."
Cleaves' mother, Frances Cleaves, said her prayers have been answered.
"I wanted Mateen to play with Chris Webber, but I was praying that it would happen here," she said. "But I guess it's still going to work out."
Dumars said he insisted on getting a first-round pick in exchange for Cleaves, although the Kings will not have to give up the pick earlier than 2004.
"They got a lot for Mateen," said Cleaves' agent, Charles Tucker. "He hates to leave, but he just wants to play."
Cleaves lit up the Target Center in Minneapolis with an ear-to-ear grin when the Pistons drafted him in the first round last summer.
He averaged 5.4 points, 2.7 assists and 1.7 turnovers in 78 games last season.
Dumars said he wanted to make changes at point guard during the offseason.
The Pistons decided to keep Chucky Atkins and re-sign Dana Barros to a one-year contract Friday.
"It's not so much that it didn't work out for him here, but they committed a lot of money to Chucky, which made it tough," Tucker said. "(Cleaves) played well at times this year, and he made the rookie team at the All-Star game."
Tragedy hit Cleaves in February when his older brother, Herbert, was murdered in Flint. Cleaves missed just one game before returning to the team, but looking back on it, he said he feels he should have taken more time off.
"The Pistons were very nice to us when my son died, and I'll always remember that," Frances Cleaves said.
Barry, 32, is a nine-year pro with 26 games of playoff experience. The Pistons are his sixth NBA team.
Barry, who is 6-foot-5, has two years and a little more than $3 million left on his contract.
"Jon gives us someone who will be a good backup (for Jerry Stackhouse)," Dumars said, "and who can come off the bench and hit some big shots and change the game."
Barry "was very well liked by all of us. He gave us a great level of performance," Petrie said. "I'm going to miss his personality and his contribution. Hopefully, he'll continue to do the same things for Detroit. We wish him the best."
© 2018. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us