Four NBA Teams In 9-Man Swap

Celtics' Danny Fortson runs into Bucks' Scott Williams.
AP
The first four-team trade in NBA history was completed Wednesday when nine players switched teams, with Howard Eisley going to Dallas, Danny Fortson to Golden State, Donyell Marshall to Utah and Robert Pack to Boston.

The Celtics also get center John "Hot Rod" Williams from Dallas, Utah's first-round pick in 2001 and a "substantial amount of cash," general manager Chris Wallace said.

Boston also sent guard Dana Barros to Dallas. Utah gets center Bruno Sundov from Dallas, the Mavericks get forward Bill Curley from Golden State and the Jazz sent forward Adam Keefe to the Warriors.

"It's a very complicated trade," Wallace said. "The largest one I've ever seen."

The deal was in the works all week, but the teams had to make sure they remained within the NBA's salary cap rules.

"It was a deal that was in again out again. It kept getting closer and then one piece would fall out," Jazz vice president Kevin O'Connor said. "We feel we've won. Dallas feels they've won. When you shake the deal down everyone got what they wanted."

The Warriors felt the deal solidified their roster.

"Going into training camp, we have redefined what we have in our backcourt and frontcourt, along with what we feel is a young core group that will be able to learn and grow together," assistant general manager Gary Fitzsimmons said. "We have added a good group of players that will attack what we felt were our weaknesses on this team."

Fortson was a free agent who was considering signing a one-year deal with the Knicks. The Warriors, however, were able to promise him something New York could not: A spot in the starting lineup.

"We did not want to see Danny Fortson in a Knick uniform without getting any compensation," Wallace said. "And that's what was going to happen if we did not get this deal done."

Eisley, who was the primary backup to John Stockton in Utah, passed on a five-year, $20 million contract last week.

"It's common knoledge we were not going to be able to re-sign Howard," O'Connor said. "In order for it to be a good deal for us we wanted to make sure we acquired somebody that could help our team."

Eisley's departure clears the way for Jacque Vaughn to back up Stockton. Eisley will be given a chance to start with the Mavericks, who have been active on the trade market in Mark Cuban's first offseason as owner.

"The perception has changed about the Mavericks. Before, you used to look at Dallas and know you were going to get a win. Now that has changed," Eisley said. "Utah was great for me. I couldn't have asked for a better team to learn from. Now I'm ready to move forward and test the waters a little bit."

Marshall averaged 14.2 points and a career-high 10 rebounds for Golden State last season. He is a small forward who can also play power forward and provide reserve help behind Karl Malone and Bryon Russell.

Sundov, a 7-foot-2 center, was used sparingly by Dallas. Curley also has played for Detroit, Minnesota and Houston.

Both Pack and Williams are in the final year of their contracts, which could give the Celtics some salary cap flexibility next summer.

The Celtics recently acquired Randy Brown to back up Kenny Anderson at point guard. Pack, who averaged 8.9 points and 5.8 assists last year, will do the same.

"We feel that we needed three point guards. With the addition of Randy and now Robert Pack, that makes us the deepest we've been at that position," coach Rick Pitino said. "There's always the possibility that more trades could happen at point guard. So we're not going to get too comfortable right now."

Williams, who missed all of last season with a back injury, was included in the deal to make it work under cap rules.

"In all probability, he will not play," Wallace said.

The deal gives the Celtics the potential for three first-round picks in the next draft. They have the rights to Denver's first-rounder as long as it is not among the top five picks; if it is, they will get the Nuggets' pick in a future draft.

"The intention here today was to hoard more draft picks, which was an important thing for us as an over-the-cap team," Wallace said.

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