INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Pacers traded Al Harrington and Stephen Jackson to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday for forwards Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy as part of an eight-player deal designed to shake up two struggling teams.
Golden State Warriors' Ike Diogu, left, dribbles past Los Angeles Clippers' Elton Brand in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Jan. 15, 2007. The Warriors won 108-93. Diogu was traded to the Indiana Pacers as part of an eight-player deal designed to shake up two struggling teams. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
The Pacers also sent guard Sarunas Jasikevicius and forward Josh Powell to the Warriors, who gave up forward Ike Diogu and guard Keith McLeod.
"We feel we made a pretty significant trade for the franchise that will be good for both teams," Pacers president Larry Bird said in a statement. "We feel the players we got will make a significant difference in the franchise."
Murphy, Dunleavy and Diogu had been reduced to high-priced backups for failing to measure up to new coach Don Nelson's expectations this season, while Jackson was dogged by legal troubles and attitude problems in Indiana.
"We have acquired players who will fit in very well with our particular style of basketball," said Chris Mullin, the Warriors' executive vice president of basketball operations. "As with any trade, we also had to surrender players that we like both on and off the court. I think this transaction will be good for both teams and all of the players involved."
Harrington — one of the Warriors' top targets in free agency last season — averages 15.9 points and 6.3 rebounds this season, second in both categories to Jermaine O'Neal. Jackson has scored 14.1 points per game, but embarrassed the club with an early season fight at a strip club and a spat with coach Rick Carlisle last month.
Murphy, a former Notre Dame star who has been bothered by injuries this season, is averaging 8.9 points and 6.0 rebounds — both his lowest totals since his rookie year. Dunleavy has scored 11.4 points in another disappointing season, so the deal rids the Warriors of three players who didn't fit with Nelson's ideas — including two prominent targets of his criticism this season.
The Warriors pursued Harrington last summer, convinced the rangy forward could fit well into their new style of play. But Indiana won the bidding, swinging a sign-and-trade deal with Atlanta to bring Harrington back to the place where he began his NBA career.
Jackson, the sharp-shooting guard, has been almost nothing but trouble for the Pacers this season, beginning with a fight outside an Indianapolis strip club on Oct. 6. Jackson is scheduled to go to trial Feb. 12 for firing a gun during the fracas.
Last month, the Pacers briefly suspended Jackson for a heated exchange with Carlisle, who kicked him off the bench during a loss to Cleveland. The Warriors' last look at Jackson was impressive, however: Earlier this season, Jackson hit a 3-pointer with 1 second left in a 108-106 victory for Indiana at Golden State.
Both Dunleavy and Murphy have been disappointments to Nelson, and the veteran coach wasn't shy about pointing out their shortcomings to reporters and fans. They also lost their starting jobs to Andris Biedrins and Matt Barnes.
Murphy has been a capable rebounder and outside shooter at times in his 5 1/2 seasons at Golden State, but never became much more than a lanky perimeter player with sub-par defense.
Dunleavy, the No. 3 overall pick from Duke in 2002, has been a huge disappointment — hurting with Warriors with everything from terrible play and unimpressive athleticism to an uncaring attitude and a tendency to blame teammates for mistakes.
Perhaps a change of scenery can rescue Dunleavy's career. Even the incredibly loyal Warriors fans at Oracle Arena have booed him loudly and regularly this season.
Diogu, the power forward who was the ninth overall pick in the 2005 draft, also didn't appear to fit into Nelson's plans for an up-tempo, small-ball attack. Coincidentally, the Warriors' reluctance to part with Diogu last season scrapped a proposed trade that would have brought Ron Artest from Indiana to Golden State.
The deal also gets the lavish contracts given to Dunleavy and Murphy off the books, freeing Golden State of about $80 million in salary commitments through 2011. Harrington and Jackson also are signed to long-term deals, but for less money and fewer guaranteed seasons.
Even Mullin, who signed Dunleavy and Murphy to their controversial contracts, criticized the forwards last week.
Donnie Nelson, Don Nelson's son who works for the Dallas Mavericks, has coached with the Lithuanian national team, so the Nelson family knows something about Jasikevicius, who could use a fresh start after failing to meet expectations in Indiana.
Powell was traded to Indiana last summer after his rookie season with Dallas, reaching the NBA finals. His smooth game also could fit well with Nelson's style.
The Warriors acquired backup guard McLeod in a deal with Utah last summer.