Originally created 10/26/01

76ers gets Coleman in three-team trade



PHILADELPHIA -- Derrick Coleman has worn out his welcome everywhere he's played - except Philadelphia.

The cantankerous forward returned to the 76ers on Thursday in a three-team, eight-player trade involving the Charlotte Hornets and Golden State Warriors.

In exchange for Coleman, the Hornets got forwards George Lynch, Robert Traylor and Jerome Moiso from Philadelphia and forward Chris Porter from Golden State.

The Warriors got forward Cedric Henderson and a conditional first-round draft pick in 2005 from Philadelphia, as well as cash from Charlotte. The Sixers also received guard Vonteego Cummings and forward Corie Blount from Golden State.

"He's talked to me for two years about coming back here and it's no secret how much I liked him, what a terrific player I thought he is," Sixers coach Larry Brown said of Coleman. "He's really excited, our players are excited and they wanted him back."

Coleman spent three seasons in Philadelphia before signing a five-year, $40 million deal with the Hornets in 1998. He has two years left on that deal and is still owed $19.1 million.

The Hornets have been trying to unload Coleman and his attitude, but found no takers, based on his horrendous season last year and heavy contract.

He showed up at training camp last year 30 pounds overweight, never worked his way into shape because of problems with his irregular heartbeat and spent much of the season on the injured list.

During a timeout in the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Coleman decided he couldn't continue playing after hurting his back earlier in the half. He walked onto the court as if he was continuing, then told referee Danny Crawford he was leaving as he passed him on his way to the locker room.

Coleman's action left the Hornets with four players on the floor when the ball was inbounded, resulting in a technical foul. Ray Allen made the free throw, a critical point since the Hornets lost 91-90.

The Bucks eventually won the series in seven games.

"That happened in Charlotte and I don't know the circumstances that led up to that," Sixers general manager Billy King said.

In 34 games last season, Coleman averaged 8.1 points - less than half his 17.9 career average. He also shot 38 percent from the field and averaged 5.4 rebounds, both lows for his 12-year career.

The Hornets were 12-22 with Coleman, 34-14 without him.

The Sixers, defending Eastern Conference champions, have been riddled with injuries throughout the preseason.

NBA MVP Allen Iverson and Aaron McKie, the league's Sixth Man of the Year, both had surgery last month, and haven't returned. Eric Snow played one preseason game, broke his thumb and will miss up to three months. Matt Geiger's situation remains uncertain because of lingering leg problems.

Coleman fills the vacancy at power forward that was created when Tyrone Hill was traded to Cleveland in the offseason.

Coleman, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 draft, averaged 17.9 points and 9.8 rebounds, but has missed 351 games to injuries.

Over the past seven years, Coleman has played 328 games and missed 214. He played just 11 games in his first season with the Sixers.

Philadelphia bought out the final year of Coleman's contract in June 1998 for $5,570,400, rather than pay him $13 million for his fourth year.

Coleman was scheduled to be Charlotte's sixth man behind Elden Campbell and P.J. Brown. It was a role he seemed unwilling to accept, saying the day training camp opened that "I ain't never been nothing but a starter."

For the Warriors, the trade thins a crowded roster and practically assures that all three of their rookies - Jason Richardson, Troy Murphy and Gilbert Arenas - will play important roles this season.

Cummings, who flopped last year as Mookie Blaylock's backup, and Blount, a journeyman forward acquired from Phoenix last spring, both likely would have been cut. Golden State's only significant loss is Porter, who had a surprisingly strong rookie season but was arrested in Alabama on drug possession charges in August.