Magic Send Giricek to Jazz for Stevenson
By MIKE BRANOM
The Associated Press
Thursday, February 19, 2004; 3:12 PM
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando Magic sent Gordan Giricek to the Utah Jazz for DeShawn Stevenson just before the NBA trading deadline Thursday in a swap of shooting guards.
The Magic also recieved a future second-round draft pick.
Stevenson averaged 11.4 points in 54 games for the Jazz, finally showing a glimmer of the promise that prompted Utah to draft him out of high school in 2000.
"DeShawn is young, athletic and a fierce competitor," Orlando general manager John Gabriel said in a statement. "He has grown nicely under the leadership of Jerry Sloan and the Jazz organization, and we look forward to him taking the next step with us."
Giricek averaged a career-low 10.2 points in 48 games with Orlando. This is the second time in as many seasons he has been traded at the deadline.
Stevenson is having the most successful season of his four-year career. He has always been able to drive to the basket, but this season he has become more of a threat from the outside. His shooting percentage of .445 is a career high.
Utah selected Stevenson 23rd overall from Washington Union (Calif.) High School, hoping he would be the next player to make a quick leap from prep to pro success. The development was slow. After averaging 4.9 points his second season, Utah signed Stevenson to a one-year contract option and tried starting him at shooting guard early in 2002-03.
Stevenson held the job for eight games before returning to the bench. He grew frustrated as a reserve and let Sloan know it in a heated argument during practice that got him sent back to Utah during the opening round of the playoffs.
Stevenson apologized and was quickly reinstated from a one-game suspension.
Giricek is in just his second NBA season, having played for years in Europe.
He came to Orlando with Drew Gooden from Memphis in a deal for Mike Miller and Ryan Humphrey in 2003. They put a charge into a mediocre team, and Orlando won 13 of 18 games down the stretch to make the playoffs. Giricek averaged 14.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 27 games.
This season, however, Giricek fell out of favor with new coach Johnny Davis, and Giricek lost his starting job in early January to rookie Keith Bogans.
Giricek had improved his defense in the past days to Davis' satisfaction, and was seeing more time off the bench. In his last eight games in Orlando, he averaged 12.5 points on 48 percent shooting.
Giricek gives the Jazz four European players and two from U.S. territories. The Jazz's "international" roster is Giricek (Croatia), Carlos Arroyo (Puerto Rico) and Raul Lopez (Spain), All-Star forward Andrei Kirilenko (Russia), rookie Sasha Pavlovic (Serbia-Montenegro) and guard Raja Bell (U.S. Virgin Islands).
© 2004 The Associated Press