Originally created 10/27/01

Heat trades for journeyman Gatling



MIAMI -- The Miami Heat, looking to bolster their frontcourt depth, acquired Chris Gatling on Friday in a three-team deal involving Cleveland and Toronto.

In the sign-and-trade deal, the Cavaliers got swingman Ricky Davis from Miami and forward Brian Skinner from Toronto. The Raptors received forward Don MacLean and an undisclosed amount of cash from Miami.

But the Heat may have gained the most from the deal, getting Gatling for the third time in five years. He will provide much-needed depth behind center Alonzo Mourning, who is still learning to play with a kidney disease, and forward Brian Grant.

"I just really want to come in and get back into playing shape, learn the system as quickly as I can and look to Brian Grant, Zo, Eddie (Jones) and a lot of the guys there to get me back to where I need to be," Gatling said.

Miami initially acquired the 6-foot-10 Gatling from Golden State along with Tim Hardaway in 1996.

The Heat reacquired him before last season from Denver. Two months later, they dealt him to Cleveland along with Clarence Weatherspoon in the trade that brought Grant to Miami and sent Shawn Kemp to Portland.

Gatling has played for eight teams in 10 seasons, averaging 10.7 points and 5.5 rebounds. In 74 games with Cleveland last season, he averaged 11.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 22.6 minutes.

The trade helped the Cavs and Raptors, too.

Davis and Skinner should boost Cleveland's depleted frontcourt, where forward Tyrone Hill (back spasms) and center Zydrunas Ilgauskas (foot) are on the injured list.

"Because of our lack of bigs going into the season, Skinner was the key," Cavs general manager Jim Paxson said. "But Ricky Davis is another young, athletic player that we get a chance to look at."

The Raptors were looking to unload a contract so they could sign point guard Carlos Arroyo. General manager Glen Grunwald said the Raptors will waive MacLean, who has quadriceps tendinitis.

"It was a difficult decision to trade a young and talented player like Brian (Skinner), but I know he is looking forward to the opportunity in Cleveland," Grunwald said.

The Cavaliers also waived forward Makhtar Ndiaye and guard-forward Rodrick Rhodes on Friday.