Steve Francis got his trade wish and, in return, the Vancouver Grizzlies got their depth.
In what turned out to be a three-way deal, involving the Houston Rockets and the Orlando Magic, the Grizzlies sent Francis, their disgruntled draft pick who was selected second overall last June, to the Rockets.
In return, the Grizzlies got forwards Othella Harrington and Antoine Carr and guards Michael Dickerson and Brent Price from Houston, as well as a first-round draft pick in 2000, 2001, or 2002. Dickerson rejoins former University of Arizona backcourt mate Mike Bibby.
From Orlando, the Grizzlies got the Magic's second-round draft pick in 2002.
Along with Francis, the Rockets got journeyman forward Tony Massenberg from the Grizzlies.
"This deal gives us two young talented players and two veteran NBA experienced players," said Stu Jackson, Grizzlies president and general manager. "We improve our outside shooting, athleticism and provide overall team depth and add some veteran leadership."
The deal was announced the same day that Francis was scheduled to hold a press conference, in which he was expected to say that he would refuse to play for the Grizzlies.
On draft night, Francis showed he was unhappy at being picked by Vancouver. He later explained his initial reluctance was because he didn't want to move so far away from his Maryland home and his grandmother, who has raised him since the death of his mother.
Contract talks between Francis' agent, Jeff Fried, and Vancouver were termed as being "heated" by Jackson, who said he made numerous attempts to deal the disgruntled prospect since draft day.
The Grizzlies, who finished with an NBA-worst 8-42 record last year, addressed a number of their needs in the trade.
Dickerson will give the Grizzlies an outside shooting theat, after the guard hit over 43 percent of his 3-point attempts tied for fourth in the NBA in his rookie season last year.
Harrington, entering his fourth season, is expected to bolster the Grizzlies' rebounding. Appearing in 41 games, of which he started 10, Harrington averaged six rebounds and 22 minutes per outing.
Price will fill Mayberry's shoes as back-up point guard, while Carr will get some time coming off the bench as a forward.
In an unrelated move, the Grizzlies signed veteran free agent forward Dennis Scott.
"Dennis is a proven NBA long-range shooter. In addition to his great knowledge of the game, Dennis has the ability to pass the ball which will help our team."
Scott, a nine-year veteran, played under Grizzlies coach Brian Hill at Orlando. After opening last season with the New York Knicks, Scott finished the year with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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