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Clippers To Make Wright Trade


Lorenzen Wright, the center-forward from the Los Angeles Clippers who was contemplating a job with the Lakers, instead will be traded to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday for two No. 1 picks, The Associated Press learned Saturday.

Two NBA sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the trade. Atlanta will give up its own No. 1 pick and one originally belonging to Toronto.

Wright, who turned down a $30 million, six-year offer to stay with the Clippers, should get similar money from the Hawks. Atlanta is over the salary cap, but has a trade exception worth $4.4 million that it can use in this deal.

On Friday, the 6-foot-11 Wright was reportedly contemplating a one-year, $2 million offer from the Lakers, which came as shocking news to the Pacers and Hawks both of who were trying to get Wright in a sign-and-trade deal.

The Hawks and Clippers had discussed a Jim Jackson-for-Wright deal early last week, but Atlanta decided against it.

But when given a chance to get the three-year veteran for the price of two draft picks, the Hawks decided to do it. Atlanta had four No. 1 picks this year and kept three of the players guard Jason Terry, center-forward Cal Bowlder and guard Dion Glover.

With the fourth pick, the Hawks drafted forward Jumaine Jones but immediately traded his rights to Philadelphia for a future No. 1 that initially belonged to Toronto.

That pick will be sent to the Clippers along with the Hawks' top selection in 2000.

Atlanta called a news conference for Sunday morning, but a team spokesman would not reveal the announcement. A Clippers spokesman could not be reached.

The addition of Wright gives the Hawks some depth and security along the front line. Alan Henderson, last season's starting power forward, missed the playoffs with an eye injury that has been slow to heal. His backup, Grant Long, is a free agent.

After being swept in the second round of the playoffs by the Knicks, Atlanta has been one of the busiest teams during the offseason. The Hawks traded their starting backcourt, sending point guard Mookie Blaylock to Golden State for the pick that landed Terry, and Steve Smith, their leading scorer four years in a row, to the Portland Trail Blazers for Isaiah Rider and Jackson.

The Clippers have already lost free agents Rodney Rogers and Darrick Martin without getting anything in return, although they did pull off a sign-and-trade deal with Cleveland in which they received Derek Anderson and Johnny Newman in exchange for Lamond Murray.

Los Angeles did manage to re-sign shooting guard Eric Piatkowski, but Sherman Douglas and Tyrone Nesby remain free agents. The Clippers have the right to match any offer made to Nesby.

Wright averaged 6.6 points and 7.5 rebounds last season, splitting time at center with rookie Michael Olowokandi and at forward with Maurice Taylor.

The 23-year-old made it clear to the Clippers that he did ot want to continue playing for them.

The draft pick that originally belonged to Toronto is lottery protected, meaning the Raptors will keep it unless they make the playoffs.

Toronto first traded the pick to the Knicks for John Wallace, and New York sent it to Philadelphia for Mirsad Turkcan.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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