Lakers Trade Veteran Harper

The Detroit Pistons traded the rights to their top draft pick, Melvin Levett, to the Los Angeles Lakers for veteran Derek Harper Tuesday.

Levett, a 6-foot-3 guard who played at Cincinnati, was the 54th overall pick in the June draft.

The 37-year-old Harper will back up starting point guard Lindsey Hunter.

"Derek gives us the backup point guard we've been looking for," Pistons General Manager Rick Sund said. "He's been in the league for 16 seasons and has played at a high level his entire career."

Harper has also played for the Mavericks, New York Knicks and Orlando Magic. He has averaged 13.3 points and 5.5 assists in 1,119 career games, eighth on the NBA's all-time list.

Harper is seventh on the NBA's career steals list with 1,957, and is 10th all-time with 3,026 3-point field goal attempts.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed