Pistons Acquire Aguirre in Trade for Dantley, Pick

Times Staff Writer

Mark Aguirre, the Dallas Mavericks all-star forward, was traded Wednesday to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for all-star forward Adrian Dantley and a No. 1 draft pick in 1991.

The deal would also give the Pistons second-round draft picks in 1989 and 1991 if the Mavericks reach the Western Conference finals.

The trade reunites Piston guard Isiah Thomas and Aguirre, who grew up together in Chicago.

“I’m excited, I’m gone to join Isiah,” Aguirre told the Associated Press. “We’ve dreamed of being on the same team since we were in grade school. Finally it comes to pass.


“I’m going to get out of here as soon as I can. I’m gone.”

The Pistons are hoping that with Thomas as a motivator, the moody Aguirre can help them reach the National Basketball Assn. finals for the second straight season.

Although he was the leading scorer in Maverick history, Aguirre had worn out his welcome after eight stormy seasons at Dallas, where he alienated his teammates and reporters.

“The fans in Dallas were great, but I was misunderstood by the press,” Aguirre said. “I had a great relationship with the fans.”

But the same cannot be said for his relationship with his teammates.

When the trade was announced, the Mavericks expressed relief.

“Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and today should be an all-day party,” Sam Perkins, Maverick forward, told reporters. The Mavericks will miss Aguirre’s offensive spark, but not his emotional outbursts.

Rolando Blackman, Maverick guard said: “It’s a big shame. Mark can be such a great player when he wants to be and he can make you so much better. But if he doesn’t want to be here, it takes away from us.”

The Mavericks were rocked by dissension in January, during which they had a 4-11 record. Aguirre’s attitude was generally blamed for the worst month in team history. He clashed repeatedly with Coach John MacLeod.


“Mark’s attitude made it difficult for the team,” MacLeod said. “ It was a big problem. We think Adrian Dantley will be a great asset to this team. We’re going to get him the ball a lot, more than he got it in Detroit. He’s the kind of player who wants the ball when the game is close in the fourth period. He has produced many times in those situations.”

Can Detroit handle the explosive Aguirre? Aren’t the Pistons worried about his disrupting the team chemistry?

“I don’t like to prejudge anybody,” Detroit Coach Chuck Daly said. “I’ve heard all these things about Mark, but we heard the same things about Dantley and Adrian has been very professional.

“Aguirre is a major league offensive player. He can shoot the three-pointers and run the floor and he’s a pretty good passer, too. He’s the same type of player as Dantley, and he’s four years younger. That’s the bottom line.”

Dantley, who reportedly clashed with Daly and Thomas, was not happy with the trade, which had been widely anticipated.

“I can’t talk right now, but I will later,” Dantley told Detroit reporters. “I told you (the trade) was just going to be a matter of time. It has nothing to do with basketball.”

Asked if the trade involved a personality conflict, Dantley said: “It’s a management decision. Players do not have any input.”

Thomas refused to comment.

Economic considerations may also have been a factor. Dantley earns $1.2 million and Aguirre earns a reported $700,000.

However, Maverick owner Donald Carter had agreed to renegotiate with Aguirre, promising him $1.4 million, beginning next month.

Aguirre is expected to join the Pistons at Sacramento for a game against the Kings tonight.

Dallas will start Terry Tyler in place of Aguirre for tonight’s game against Miami and work Dantley into the lineup slowly.