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More deals in future for Nets and Sixers

June 27, 1997

EAST RUTHERFORD,N.J. (AP) _ Now that the Nets and Philadelphia 76ers finally have completed the multiplayer trade that will bring No. 2 draft choice Keith Van Horn to New Jersey, they can start thinking about other deals.

The Sixers are already talking with Miami about a deal involving power forward Derrick Coleman. Forward Clarence Weatherspoon, who was part of the recent failed Dino Radja trade with Boston, also might go somewhere.

Guard Kerry Kittles and Van Horn seemingly are the only two untouchables on the Nets.

New Jersey thought so highly of Van Horn that it gave one of its most prized assets to get him: space under the salary cap after next season.

In acquiring the rights to Van Horn on Friday, the Nets also got three big contracts of players who had sub-par seasons in 1996-97 _ center Michael Cage (two years), forward Don MacLean (four years) and swingman Lucious Harris (six years).

Instead of being $7 million under the cap after next season, the Nets will have little room to get a free agent, especially if they re-sign point guard Sam Cassell, who is a free agent.

In the deal, delayed more than 24 hours because of a grievance filed by the Celtics, the Sixers received the rights to Villanova forward Tim Thomas (the seventh pick) and Bradley guard Anthony Parker (21st pick) and two veterans, swingman Jimmy Jackson and center Eric Montross.

While the Nets appeared to give away a lot, general manager John Nash said the price was worth it, especially after seeing the 6-foot-10 Van Horn work out.

``He was better in almost every area than we anticipated,″ Nash said. ``He really could shoot the ball, and we knew that from seeing him on tape and in person. But we didn’t realize he’s as athletic as he is. His jumping ability is much better than we expected and his hands were most impressive. He had a post-up game we didn’t see. He’s got an all-round game.″

While the Nets’ cap room may be gone now, Nash said that could change.

``We are not locked into the 12 players we have on our roster,″ he said.

Neither are the Sixers.

Billy King, the team’s vice president of basketball administration, spent a lot of time during a telephone conference call discussing potential other moves, including one that would send Coleman to Miami in return for possibly P.J. Brown and either Jamal Mashburn or another player.

Heat coach Pat Riley acknowledged there were discussions.

``I’ll confirm what Pat has said,″ King said. ``We are in discussions with them about that, but it’s a situation where more discussions will need to be taken. As we know, deals of this magnitude don’t happen overnight.″

Even this trade needed more than a day, but that was because the Celtics filed a grievance after the Sixers nullified a trade because Radja failed his physical.

Boston withdrew the protest late Thursday and the Nets and Sixers finalized the deal Friday morning in a telephone conference call.

King insisted Philadelphia was not forced into dealing Van Horn because he said he would not play there. The forward also refused to work out for the Sixers.

``We made this trade because we feel it’s beneficial to the organization,″ King said. ``There’s not many times you can get four quality players that we’re able to get there. And in getting these players, we were able to do a lot of things. You add Jimmy Jackson, Eric Montross, Anthony Parker and Tim Thomas.

``Yeah, you give up a chance maybe for a Keith Van Horn, but we have a chance to bring players in and give ourselves flexibility with the cap. So it wasn’t the fact that Keith said he wouldn’t play here. When we spoke to Keith, he told coach, `If I’m taken, I’ll be ready to play hard.‴

Van Horn averaged 22 points last season in leading Utah in scoring for the fourth straight year.

``It is an honor that the Nets went out and did what they did to draft me,″ Van Horn said in a statement released by the Nets.

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