|Wolves, Rockets complete trade|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 14 June 2007 09:36|
The deal helps the Timberwolves address a glut of guards on the roster.
``Juwan is a veteran low-post player who is a proven scorer and rebounder,'' Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale said in a statement. ``He will add needed depth to our front court, and with this move we are balancing out our roster.''
James was a disappointment in his lone season in Minnesota. He signed a four-year, $23 million contract with the Wolves after a breakout year for Toronto, serving as Minnesota's lone notable free-agent acquisition last offseason. The Timberwolves hoped his swagger and sharp shooting would fit in well with a team that needed a fourth-quarter scorer and 3-point shooter.
But the team and the player never meshed. James found it difficult to secure consistent playing time on a team with four point guards - James, rookie Randy Foye, Troy Hudson and Bracey Wright - and another guy in 6-foot-7 Marko Jaric who fancies himself as one. James averaged 10.1 points a game, less than half of his output the year before in Toronto.
``Mike did not have the type of year that Mike wanted to have,'' McHale said at a season-ending news conference. ``And he didn't fill the role for us that we had hoped that he would fill as far as spreading the court and making those shots.''
James' struggles only exacerbated a disastrous season for the Wolves in which coach Dwane Casey was fired and they missed the playoffs for the third straight season.
All the while, Garnett asked for an established leader to take some of the attention away from him in the frontcourt, and help him in the locker room.
and 7.1 rebounds.
His departure from Houston was not unexpected, with the Rockets looking for a more athletic, physical frontcourt presence to pair with center Yao Ming.
The trade also brings James back to Houston, where he played 26 games in 2004-05. He loves the area and was planning to build a home in Houston for his family even before the deal was completed.
James' return also calls into question the status of Rafer Alston, who was badly outplayed by Deron Williams in the Rockets' first-round loss to Utah in the playoffs.