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Steve Francis Calls Off Conference

August 27, 1999

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)_ Disgruntled draft pick Steve Francis called off a news conference scheduled for today in his hometown of Takoma Park, Md., amid reports that he was about to be traded from the Grizzlies to the Houston Rockets.

A spokeswoman at Edelman Public Relations in New York confirmed the change of plans but said she did not know the reason.

Vancouver and the Rockets reportedly have agreed to a 10-player trade, believed to be the largest in NBA history.

The Grizzlies picked Francis second overall in June’s NBA draft but were unable to persuade him to move to Canada, away from his close family ties and the grandmother who raised him since his mother died of cancer in 1995.

ESPN, KRIV-TV of Houston and several broadcast outlets in Vancouver reported Thursday night that the trade would be announced today after it is approved by the NBA.

Television reports said the Grizzlies would send Francis, Tony Massenburg, Lee Mayberry, Makhtar Ndiaye, Rodrick Rhodes and Michael Smith to the Rockets. Houston would give up Antoine Carr, Michael Dickerson, Othella Harrington and Brent Price and a future first-round draft pick.

Francis averaged 17 points last season at Maryland, shooting 52.3 per cent from the field. He also averaged 2.8 steals.

Massenburg is a 6-foot-9 forward who had to play center most of the year after Bryant Reeves showed up at camp out of shape, then suffered a season-ending knee injury. Massenburg averaged 11.2 points and six rebounds.

Mayberry, a 6-1 guard, played in only nine games due to a foot injury.

The 6-8 Smith played in 48 games last year, averaging 7.3 rebounds and 4.8 points. Ndiaye, another 6-8 forward, spent most of the year on Vancouver’s practice roster, while Rhodes, a 6-6 guard, came from Houston in exchange for Sam Mack.

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