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Bucks trade Brandon to Timberwolves

Bucks trade Brandon to Timberwolves

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Bucks deal starters Brandon, Hill MILWAUKEE (AP) — This lockout-shortened season got a little stranger for the Milwaukee Bucks when they traded two starters despite a 12-5 start and 6-0 record in March.

General manager Bob Weinhauer blamed an early trading deadline of 6 p.m. Thursday for forcing the deals that sent point guard Terrell Brandon to Minnesota and forward Tyrone Hill to Philadelphia.

And Weinhauer said the trades don't mean he and first-year coach George Karl are giving up on the goal of ending a seven-year playoff drought this season.

"You're always concerned about change. This we don't look at as change for the sake of change," Weinhauer said Thursday night.

"George and I discussed this at length yesterday and today about where we are. It's almost going to be like starting over with a new training period, only with less practice time, and yes, that was a concern.

"But we do not feel that this will take us out of the playoff picture," he added. "Our guys will regroup and they will compete."

Karl had been reluctant to see Brandon, a former All-Star, leave the Bucks because of the way the team has jelled under his leadership. Brandon refused to negotiate a contract extension in Milwaukee.

Brandon said he was happy to be in a situation where a team wanted him.

"I was happy either way," Brandon said. "It doesn't make much of a difference. I'm just glad it's over."

In the three-team deal involving Brandon, the Bucks picked up point guard Sam Cassell and power forward Chris Gatling from the Nets, plus Paul Grant from the Timberwolves.

Guard Elliot Perry went from the Bucks to Minnesota and immediately to the Nets. Also obtained by the Nets were point guard Stephon Marbury, forward Bill Curley and guard Chris Carr. The Nets sent small forward Brian Evans to Minnesota, along with two draft choices.

Cassell has played in only two games since spraining his ankle in the season opener. Gatling had asked to be traded. Grant, a former Wisconsin center, has seen little action.

The 30-year-old Hill, who said he would prefer to be traded if Brandon left the Bucks, was dealt to the Sixers with reserve Jerald Honeycutt for Tim Thomas and Scott Williams.

"I have no idea if it was the right move or the wrong move," Karl said. "I think we made a basketball decision based on people basically wanting to be in Milwaukee. I don't think you can be successful building a team without committed athletes.

"Terrell and Tyrone were fantastic on the court, but their disharmony and whatever you want to call their professionalism around the court, I thought, was distracting. Maybe I'm overreacting, but I don't think I am."

The Bucks and Sixers started talking about the deal just before the trade deadline and needed more than three hours to finalize it.

"We are continually trying to build this team into a championship-caliber team, and the trade deadline comes at a very inopportune time," Weinhauer said. "We would like for it to be further on in the season like it normally is, but it's here and we have to deal with it.

"So the opportunity to move some players and to pick up some other pieces of the puzzle, one, gives us instant scoring off the bench in Chris Gatling.

"Sam Cassell is a proven point guard who has played on two world championship teams with the Houston Rockets. He is a solid offensive player.

"Tim Thomas, the seventh pick in the draft, (is) a solid young player," he said. "Now we're trying to blend age with youth and bring the team along."

Thomas, the seventh selection in the 1997 draft by New Jersey, had fallen into a mopup role with the Sixers. He is averaging 4.6 points and was 5-for-19 on 3-point shots and had said before the trade that he would welcome a change if his playing time wasn't going to increase.

Williams has been out with stress fractures in both legs and isn't expected back for at least two more weeks.

Thomas was expected to join the Bucks for tonight's game at Indiana. Milwaukee was half a game behind the Pacers for the Central Division lead.

Williams and Grant will stay on the injured list and the Bucks planned to pick up a player on a 10-day contract.

Cassell, who aggravated his ankle sprain in warmups this week, and Gatling were to have their physical exams in Milwaukee and could see action Sunday.

"We'll determine Sam's status when he comes in here and gets his physical," Weinhauer said.


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