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Hornets, Pacers, Rockets, Nets agree to 5-player trade

The Associated Press

8/11/2010 8:18:03 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -- Larry Bird always said he wouldn't rush the rebuilding of the Indiana Pacers.

He stuck to his word, and it paid off. He waited until all the free agency hype died down before delivering one of the biggest moves for his franchise in years -- the acquisition of point guard Darren Collison from New Orleans -- in a four-way trade that also includes New Jersey and Houston.

"We said at the beginning of the summer that we were going to be patient and don't make drastic moves just to make a move," Bird said. "We have a plan here. It's a three-year plan, and I expect to get the job done in three years."

The term rebuilding might no longer apply now that the Pacers have added the 22-year-old Collison to a core that includes forward Danny Granger and centre Roy Hibbert.

"I think it helps out tremendously," Bird said. "I think this was the piece that we needed. The vision I have for this franchise is to get the core group up and ready to go as quick as we can, and this piece here will accelerate everything."

The Pacers also announced Wednesday they have dealt Troy Murphy to the Nets, who sent guard Courtney Lee to Houston. To complete the trade, the Rockets shipped swingman Trevor Ariza to New Orleans.

Indiana also got James Posey from New Orleans in the deal.

The Pacers were searching for a point guard because T.J. Ford fell out of favour last season with coach Jim O'Brien. The Pacers get a good young one in Collison, who played well when Chris Paul was injured. He averaged 12.4 points and 5.7 assists as a rookie last season, including 18.8 points and 9.1 assists in 37 starts.

"I didn't think he'd have the year he had last year," Bird said. "He's solid. He likes to defend. He always could shoot the ball. We think he's a complete player."

The Nets get a good rebounder in the six-foot-11 Murphy, a New Jersey product who is an excellent outside shooter for his size. The former first-round pick from Notre Dame is a career 39 per cent shooter from 3-point range. He played in 262 games for the Pacers, with averages of 13.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

"We are very pleased to add Troy to our roster," Nets general manager Billy King said. "He is a quality power forward who has the ability to stretch the floor, and we feel that he will be a very positive addition to our frontcourt rotation."

Posey has spent 11 seasons in the NBA with career averages of 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Last season, he averaged 5.2 points and 4.3 rebounds. The cash-strapped Hornets were able to move the remaining two years and more than US$13 million remaining on Posey's contract.

The Rockets cut salary with the move after re-signing point guard Kyle Lowry and power forward Luis Scola, both restricted free agents, and picking up backup centre Brad Miller.

Ariza was due to make about $6.3 million this season, the first of four years left on his contract. Houston signed Ariza in July 2009, when free agent Ron Artest decided to join the Los Angeles Lakers.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said their involvement in the trade was mostly about the opportunity to get Lee, a 6-5 guard whom they've coveted since the 2008 draft.

"We really target players who we think will fit in well here over time," Morey said. "When we got our first chance to acquire him, we were fairly aggressive to get that done. He's very versatile."

The Rockets envisioned the 6-8 Ariza developing into a dependable scoring threat on the wing. He averaged a career-high 14.9 points in 72 games last season, but shot 39.4 per cent from the field and 33.4 per cent from three-point range.

"To get something you like, you've got to give up something," Morey said. "It wasn't a situation where we were down on Trevor. It was really about that we think Courtney has a big future."

Lee, acquired from Orlando on draft night in 2009 in the Vince Carter deal, averaged 12.5 points in 71 games for the Nets last season, including 66 starts. He shot 43.6 per cent from the field last season and will likely back up shooting guard Kevin Martin with the Rockets.

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AP Sports Writers Chris Duncan in Houston and Tom Canavan in Albany, N.Y., contributed to this report.