Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, June 29, 1999
Rockets may deal Olajuwon for draft picks
HOUSTON (AP) — Star NBA center Hakeem Olajuwon would be traded by the Houston
Rockets to the Toronto Raptors for two players and two first-round draft
picks, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The newspaper in today's editions quoted sources close to the talks
as saying that the discussions have been going on for about two weeks.
But the sources said talks had not been completed as of late Monday.
Sources told the newspaper that negotiations became more intense Sunday
and Monday and could lead to some changes in the office, potentially including
another draft pick or player.
Rockets officials refused to comment about the trade negotiations.
"The main thing is there will be fewer free agents in the future under
the new collective bargaining agreement," a source close to the trade talks
said on condition of anonymity. "You can already see more players signed
with their teams because they get more money with their current teams.
Free agency as we once knew it has been curtailed."
Olajuwon, the Rockets' most successful and celebrated player in a 15-year
career that followed three seasons at the University of Houston, led the
NBA team to championships in 1994 and '95.
Trades cannot be made until Aug. 1, so the Raptors would have to select
players on the Rockets' behalf during the NBA draft on Wednesday.
The Rockets would acquire the Raptors' two first-round selections, the
fifth pick —acquired from Denver — and the 12th pick (Toronto's own). The
Raptors also would send former Rockets center/forward Kevin Willis and
guard/forward Doug Christie to Houston.
Both players are under contract for one more season. Because Toronto
would be under the salary cap, it would be able to take on Olajuwon's $14.3
million salary without precisely matching the salaries of the players dealt.
Willis played two seasons with the Rockets before he was traded to Toronto
last June for Roy Rogers and two first-round draft picks (with which the
Rockets drafted guard Bryce Drew and forward Mirsad Turkcan). Willis, 36,
averaged 12 points and 8.3 rebounds in 1999.
Christie, 29, played 3« seasons for the Lakers and Knicks before
he seemed to blossom in his three full seasons in Toronto. He averaged
15.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 1998 and a career-best 16.5
points and 5.2 rebounds in 1997-98.
The Rockets have been looking for position in the NBA draft. The No.
5 pick would be the team's highest draft position since they selected Olajuwon
with the No. 1 pick in 1984.
But by dealing Olajuwon, 36, the Rockets would begin a rebuilding process
in the wake of a disappointing first-round playoff loss to the Lakers,
the team's second consecutive ouster in the first round.
The deal also could affect forward
Keith Hedson signaled to the judges he was finished tying his steer
this morning in 12.3 seconds, as the second go-round of steer roping began
at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena. Hedson's time tied Bucky Hefner for the
best time so far in slack competition, which got underway at 7:30 a.m.
with the first go round.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1999 by Pecos Enterprise