Heat gets Mavericks' Mashburn for three players
Feb. 14, 1997
MIAMI (AP) _ The Miami Heat, the NBA's second-winningest team, acquired discontented forward Jamal Mashburn from the Dallas Mavericks for three players Friday.
In exchange for Mashburn, the Mavericks' 1993 first-round draft pick, Dallas got forward Kurt Thomas, reserve guard Sasha Danilovic and reserve forward Martin Muursepp.
Despite Miami's success this season, coach Pat Riley had been looking for a strong, powerful forward. Only the defending champion Chicago Bulls (43-6) have a better record than the Heat (38-12), who have won eight straight.
The winning streak currently is the longest in the NBA. The team ranks fourth in defense and has scored 100 points six times in the past eight games. With a patchwork bench, it has overcome injuries to three key players _ Dan Majerle, Thomas and Gary Grant.
But Riley has been eager to improve the Heat's play against the top NBA teams. All the team's losses in January were to playoff-bound teams _ Utah, Seattle, the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando and New York.
Riley thrives on shaking up his team with midseason deals. He traded five players at last year's trading deadline.
New Mavericks general manager Don Nelson is showing the same tendency, at least for now as he tries to shake some life into a team left dispirited by a 16-30 record and mounting team dissension.
``This is a chance to get three darn good players and change the team,'' Nelson said. ``I think change is good for teams and players; I think it's time that this one changes some.''
The unhappy Mashburn, averaging 10.7 points per game, has been rumored to be on the trading block for much of the season but it was thought that plan would be shelved until after the season.
``I think it's just time for a change for Jamal. We wish him the best, I think he's a very fine player. He just didn't seem to be playing up to his best here,'' Nelson said.
``I certainly hope that changes and he become the player he was or wants to be. He's going to a great situation, so I think it'll be real positive for him. It's time to make some changes here _ It's truly that simple,'' he said.
The trade will be something of a homecoming for Thomas, who attended Texas Christian. The 24-year-old former TCU star was averaging 6.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game before he fractured an ankle Jan. 24 and underwent Feb. 4 surgery.
The former Dallas high school star will be placed on the injured list while he recovers from Feb. 4 surgery on the ankle.
Nelson acknowledged the trade for Thomas was a risk.
``Injuries do happen, and we've taken some risks with Thomas. But we factored that into the equation. We think it's a good gamble,'' he said.
Nelson also has high hopes for Danilovic, a proven scorer at Miami, and Muursepp, whom he says needs development.
Danilovic, a fan favorite in Miami, was averaging 11.3 points per game but recently lost his starting job to Voshon Lenard.
His agent, Herb Rudoy, said Danilovic was pondering leaving the Heat after this season because ``there is no salary cap in Europe and there are team owners who would love to have him.''
Muursepp, who has complained about his lack of playing time, was averaging 1.7 points per game.