NBA Expansion Draft : Timberwolves Get Mahorn; Lakers Lose Rivers

Times Staff Writer

The Orlando Magic used the first pick of the National Basketball Assn. expansion draft Thursday to select Sidney Green from the New York Knicks, but the Minnesota Timberwolves scored big in shock value, picking Rick Mahorn, who fewer than 48 hours earlier was starting for the Detroit Pistons in the NBA finals, and Tyrone Corbin, a key member of the Phoenix Suns.

The Pistons, who completed a four-game sweep of the Lakers Tuesday night, figured to lose a big-name player, but most speculation centered on Vinnie Johnson or James Edwards. So Mahorn’s availability, attributed to continuing back problems and perhaps a desire to get more playing time for Dennis Rodman and John Salley, was a stunner, topped only by the timing.

The Pistons had their victory parade through the streets of Detroit Thursday afternoon and General Manager Jack McCloskey had a portable phone with him, hoping to call the expansion teams and try to talk them out of taking Mahorn by making a trade.


From the parade, the Pistons went to their home court in suburban Auburn Hills for another celebration, which included a rousing speech by Mahorn, a 6-foot-10 forward who personified the team’s Bad Boy image.

Then, at a meeting just after that, Mahorn got the news. “It’s a business deal,” he told reporters. “I’ll be all right.”

Minnesota used its second pick for Corbin, another forward, who helped the Suns advance to the Western Conference finals. The Timberwolves later added both Los Angeles players--guard David Rivers of the Lakers and guard-forward Eric White of the Clippers.

Rivers, the Lakers’ first-round pick last season, had little playing time during his rookie season, averaging just 2.9 points, 2.3 assists and 9.4 minutes in 47 games. His departure means that the Lakers will almost surely try to get another guard with the 26th pick in the June 27 college draft.

“I look at this as a career move, and undoubtedly a business move,” Rivers said of going to Minnesota. “I’m just looking at the positive side. Chances are, I’ll play more.”

White, from Pepperdine, spent parts of the last two seasons with the Clippers, also playing in the Continental Basketball Assn. He averaged 4.3 points and 11.7 minutes in 37 games during 1988-89.

Minnesota’s other selections were forward-center Steve Johnson of Portland, forward Brad Lohaus of Sacramento, forward Mark Davis of Milwaukee, forward Scott Roth of San Antonio, forward Shelton Jones of Philadelphia, guard Maurice Martin of Denver, and 7-4 center Gunther Behnke, whose rights were owned by Cleveland, although he never signed after being drafted in 1985.

After picking Green No. 1, Orlando took 11-year veteran Reggie Theus from Atlanta. Theus, heading for his third team in three years, was the only Hawk who started every game last season, and he scored in double figures in 69 of the 82 games.

From there, the Magic selected forward Terry Catledge of Washington, guard Sam Vincent of Chicago, guard Otis Smith of Golden State, guard Scott Skiles of Indiana, forward Jerry Reynolds of Seattle, center Mark Acres of Boston, guard Morlon Wiley of Dallas, guard Jim Farmer of Utah, forward-center Keith Lee of New Jersey and guard Frank Johnson of Houston.