P O R T L A N D, Ore., Aug. 30, 2000 -- Portland, Cleveland and Miami completed afive-player deal today, with the Trail Blazers sending powerforward Brian Grant to the Heat and getting Shawn Kemp.
The trade was to be announced by the Cavaliers and Blazers at alate news conferences, but Grant’s agent, MarkBartelstein, confirmed it during a conference call.
“Brian wanted to make sure he was playing for a team that had achance to win a championship, a team where he would play a majorrole and he would be the starting power forward, with a great coachand a terrific city,” Bartelstein said. “Miami has all thatcovered and more.”
Terms of the Deal
Under terms of the deal, which has been known for weeks butfinally met league approval today, Grant signed a newseven-year, $86 million deal with the Blazers. In exchange forGrant, the Heat sent Chris Gatling and Clarence Weatherspoon, alongwith a first-round draft choice and cash, to the Cavaliers.
The Blazers get Kemp, whose weight problems, bloated contractand surly attitude have made him unwelcome in Cleveland. Kemp, whoplayed for the Seattle SuperSonics when Blazers general manager BobWhitsitt was there, is due to make $71 million in the next fourseasons.
Cleveland also gets Portland’s 36-year-old backup point guard,Gary Grant, who almost certainly will be cut.
Brian Grant was slowed by knee and foot injuries last season,and he averaged career lows of 21 minutes, 7.3 points and 5.5rebounds. Grant, one of the league’s most emotional players andfiercest rebounders, also was frustrated by giving up the spotlightto Rasheed Wallace, who had a breakout season playing the sameposition.
“He’s got a lot to prove, and he’s looking forward to provingit,” Bartelstein said. “He’s got a lot of pride, and it hurt himto go through what he went through last season.”
Miami’s Hot Front Line
Grant had been courted by the New York Knicks and Cleveland, butMiami could offer the kind of raise he was looking for. He madeabout $7.7 million with the Blazers last season. The Los AngelesLakers also were interested, but the most they could afford was the$2.25 million exception.
When Miami traded its own power forward, P.J. Brown, toCharlotte for Eddie Jones, it opened the door for Grant to waltzin. Bartelstein also represents Brown.
The deal gives the Heat an imposing front line that also hasAlonzo Mourning and Anthony Mason, and puts coach Pat Riley in hisbest position to make it back to the NBA Finals since he’s been inMiami.
Portland Hopes to Revive Kemp
Kemp, who signed a seven-year, $98 million contract after comingto the Cavs in a three-way trade in 1997, will join a Blazers’ teamthat nearly upset the eventual NBA champion Lakers in the WesternConference finals last season.
The Blazers are hoping a return to the Pacific Northwest willmotivate Kemp, who began his career in Seattle where he worked withWhitsitt. He has reported to training camp 50 pounds overweight thepast two seasons in Cleveland.
The added weight grounded Kemp, who used to be one of the mostferocious dunkers in the league. Too often last season he wasforced to adjust his shot or just had it blocked. He finished theseason averaging 17.8 points per game — his lowest total since1992-93- and with a career-low .417 field-goal percentage.
Kemp was also a liability on the defensive end, leading theleague in personal fouls and finishing third in turnovers — aremarkable stat for a frontline player.
The 30-year-old was a bigger headache off the court. Heregularly arrived late for home games, team meetings and flights,failing to be the type of role model the Cavs wanted their youngplayers to learn from.