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Nuggets send McDyess to Phoenix; Cleveland gets Person, Dumas

October 2, 1997

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Antonio McDyess wanted to join an exclusive club reserved for people like Shaquille O’Neal and Kevin Garnett.

The Denver Nuggets said fine, just put it on somebody else’s tab.

The Nuggets, unwilling to make McDyess the NBA’s newest $100 million man, traded the flamboyant forward to Phoenix on Wednesday for a host of draft picks. The revamped Cleveland Cavaliers received guards Wesley Person and Tony Dumas from the Suns in the three-way deal.

``I was willing to stay in Denver, but they traded me and gave me no choice,″ said McDyess, entering his third season and seeking a six-year contract extension worth more than $100 million.

``Antonio wasn’t the franchise player we were looking at for $100 million,″ Nuggets vice president Allan Bristow said. ``If we felt he warranted that kind of money and was the big piece to the puzzle, we would have gone in a different direction.″

The Nuggets, coming off the second-worst season in franchise history at 21-61, receive three first-round and two second-round picks, plus cash. The Cavaliers, who acquired All-Star forward Shawn Kemp from Seattle last week, give Denver a first-round pick no earlier than 2000 and receive Person and Dumas from the Suns.

``After the trade we made last week, we felt we needed to protect our inside game by acquiring a perimeter shooter,″ said Cavaliers general manager Wayne Embry, who in acquiring Person gave Cleveland its best outside threat since Mark Price.

McDyess, the No. 2 pick in the 1995 draft, averaged 18.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in his second season. He will make about $2.8 million in the final year of his contract.

The 23-year-old rattled rims and gained national fame by averaging 30.5 points and 18 rebounds in the 1995 NCAA tournament with Alabama. He hoped to be drafted by Dallas two years ago so he could play with point guard Jason Kidd, now with the Suns.

Now, he’ll join Kidd with the Suns.

``I would like to think we’re on the doorstep, knocking,″ Phoenix general manager Bryan Colangelo said. ``We now have to build it into a title contender.″

First, the Suns have to give McDyess the money Denver would not. Only four players in the NBA have contracts worth $100 million _ Garnett, who signed a six-year deal reportedly worth at least $120 million with Minnesota on Wednesday, O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Juwan Howard.

The Suns, who must pay guard Kevin Johnson about $8 million for one more season and also signed free agents Clifford Robinson and Tom Chambers, will have salary cap room to deal with McDyess next summer.

``We’ve all decided that it’s in our best interest as a team and in the best interest of the player to wait until next summer to talk about a new contract,″ Colangelo said.

McDyess joins Hot Rod Williams, Danny Manning, Mark Bryant and Robinson to give the Suns a formidable inside presence to go with the perimeter prowess of Rex Chapman, Johnson and Kidd.

``I don’t expect him to lead us to the promised land right now,″ said coach Danny Ainge, whose team started last season 0-13 but won 20 of its last 26. ``He’s got a lot of guys around him who can help him carry that burden.″

The Cavaliers, who were 42-40 last season and missed the playoffs for the first time in six years, continued a thorough revamping of their roster in the days before training camp. Again, the Cavs turned to the uptempo Western Conference for an infusion of talent.

``You can imagine the shock after we added two Western Conference players like Shawn Kemp and Person, who played in `slightly’ different styles of basketball,″ joked Cleveland coach Mike Fratello, whose team set a modern record for low scoring for the second straight season.

If the Cavs’ draft pick is not used by 2001, it goes to Phoenix and Denver receives the Suns’ first-round pick in 2001. Cleveland does not have to give away a lottery pick.

The Nuggets get two additional first-rounders from Phoenix _ the Suns’ No. 1 selection in 1998 and Milwaukee’s pick in 1998 or ’99 _ plus second-round picks in 2000 and 2002 from the Suns. Both Cleveland and Phoenix give Denver cash.

Person, a 6-foot-6 guard who averaged 13.5 points in his third season, played college ball at Auburn. So did his brother, Chuck Person, and former Cavaliers All-Star Mike Mitchell. Person can be a free agent after this season.

Dumas, also 6-6, is likely to begin his fifth season on the injured list while recovering from knee surgery.

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