The Phoenix Suns, spurred by the approach of the NBA trade deadline and the likelihood of a fourth straight losing season, underwent a major facelift last night, making the largest single transaction in their 20-year NBA history.
The Suns traded veteran forwards Larry Nance and Mike Sanders to Cleveland for Cavaliers' center Mark West, guard Kevin Johnson and forward Tyrone Corbin last night, then dealt guard Jay Humphries to Milwaukee for Bucks' guard Craig Hodges. Phoenix and Cleveland also flip-flopped first-round picks in the 1988 draft, with the Suns also getting the Cavaliers' second-round selection in the 1988 and 1989 college drafts.
The Suns will get the higher of the two first-round picks next June except if the Cavaliers' pick turns out to be a lottery selection. In that case, Cleveland would retain it and Phoenix would get a first-round pick in 1989 with no contingencies.
In the Humphries-Hodges' deal, the Suns also got the Bucks' second-round pick in the 1988 draft.
The key player in the trades was Nance, 29, who led the Suns in scoring (21.1 points a game) and rebounds (9.9 a game) and wasNBA player of the month in December.
In another trade, the Chicago Bulls sent guard Sedale Threatt to Seattle for guard Sam Vincent, a player Bulls vice president Jerry Krause said the team has "tried, at various times, to obtain in the last three seasons."
The Suns and Cavaliers executed their deal prior to their game last night in Phoenix, but none of the players involved played in the game because the trade is contingent upon each player passing a physical.
Suns President Jerry Colangelo said he made the deals to rebuild his club, fourth in the Pacific Division and seemingly out of playoff contention for the third straight year.
Phoenix traded veteran center James Edwards to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
Humphries, 25, and Edwards, 32, were indicted by a Maricopa County grand jury investigating drug trafficking last April but both entered a deferred prosecution program calling for dismissal of charges after a year of drug counseling.
The 6-foot-3, 199-pound Humphries was Phoenix's first-round draft pick and 13th selection overall in the 1984 draft out of Colorado and set a club record for assists in a season with 632 in 1986-87. He averaged 12.7 points, 7.1 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.22 steals in 50 games this season including 33 starts.
Suns 109, Cavaliers 103:
Walter Davis scored 16 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, including eight in the final 1:18, as Phoenix won at home.
Mavericks 108, Rockets 106:
Dallas' Rolando Blackman scored 29 points in Houston, but his final three were the ones that had the most effect. He hit a basket and free throw in the final 22 seconds.
Knicks 106, Clippers 96:
Gerald Wilkins scored nine of his 25 points in the last five minutes as New York ended an 18-game road losing streak with a victory over the short-handed Los Angeles.
The victory was the Knicks' second of the season in 25 road gamesand their first on the road since Nov. 25.