On the eve of the NBA draft, the Washington Wizards made a move to trade veterans Jerry Stackhouse, Christian Laettner and the fifth overall pick of the NBA draft for reigning NBA sixth man of the year Antawn Jamison, according to sources close to the team.
The deal was close to being finalized late last night, said both sources.
The Wizards are eager to move Stackhouse and Laettner, players who the Wizards' management believed were negative influences in the club's locker room, said one source. Both players were left unprotected in the expansion draft and the Wizards were considering two other trade offers should the deal with the Mavericks fall through.
The Mavericks, who are pursuing a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers for center Shaquille O'Neal, wanted the Wizards' first-round pick in the hopes of using it in a deal for O'Neal.
Wizards President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld has said repeatedly in the weeks leading up to tonight's NBA draft that the available talent was stocked with "extremely young players."
For the Wizards, who are already waiting for players such as Kwame Brown, Juan Dixon, and Jared Jeffries to blossom, the prospect of taking another unproven player may have appeared unattractive to the team.
Instead, the Wizards will obtain the 6-foot-9, 225-pound Jamison, who would start for the Wizards and could become one of the premiere small forwards in the Eastern Conference. He averaged 14.8 points and 6.3 rebounds this past season as a reserve.
Stackhouse, who averaged 13.9 points this past season but was limited to 26 games because of an assortment of injuries, has fallen out of the favor with Wizards' management.
Before the season, Stackhouse was arrested after allegedly assaulting a real estate agent during a quarrel over when he was required to leave a rented beach house.