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Spurs deal Cheeks to Knicks for Strickland

The New York Knicks granted Rod Strickland his wish Wednesday when they traded the second-year guard to the San Antonio Spurs for veteran guard Maurice Cheeks. The deal was one of several made Wednesday on the eve of the trading deadline in the National Basketball Association.

The Houston Rockets acquired three future second-round draft picks and an undisclosed amount of cash from Cleveland for forward-guard Derrick Chievous.

Also, the Rockets acquired former University of Florida guard Vernon Maxwell from San Antonio from an undisclosed sum.

Two deals involved the New Jersey Nets. They obtained Chris Dudley, a 6-foot-11 center, from the Cleveland Cavaliers for second-round draft choices in 1991 and 1993. The Nets then traded Joe Barry Carroll, the 7-1 center they didn't want, to the Denver Nuggets for Michael Cutright, a 6-4 rookie guard from McNeese State.

The 23-year-old Strickland had expressed unhappiness with his role as a backup to Mark Jackson earlier this season and asked to be traded. He also showed up an hour late to practice on Monday.

"Maurice Cheeks is a proven winner. He has a (championship) ring which is what we are trying to bring here," Knicks general manager Al Bianchi said. "This team needs leadership, maturity and stability and that's what Maurice brings. He's an old head who knows how to play the game."

Strickland, who left DePaul after his junior season and was the Knicks' top pick in the 1988 draft, averaged 8.2 points and 4.3 assists while playing 20 minutes per game.

Cheeks, 33, was traded from Philadelphia to San Antonio last summer after spending his entire 11-year NBA career with the 76ers. He averaged 10.9 points and six assists in 35 minutes per game with the Spurs.

Cheeks is expected to back up Jackson while Strickland likely will assume the starting point guard role with the second-place Spurs.

"It is great for us that we were able to get a young player who has a terrific chance to be a great point guard," Spurs coach Larry Brown said. "But we hate giving up Maurice because we owe a lot to him for our success this year. It was just something we felt we had to do."

Maxwell, a 1988 second-round draft pick by Denver who was immediately traded to the Spurs, averaged 6.9 points and 3.0 assists in 49 games for San Antonio this season. He averaged 11.7 points in 79 games in his first year.

Maxwell is one of only three Spurs who were on the team's 1988-89 roster.

The Rockets will get the Cavaliers' 1992 or 1994 second-round draft pick, plus Boston's 1991 and 1993 second-round picks, which Cleveland had acquired from New Jersey.

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