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Richardson Traded to Pacers, Timberwolves Get Person : NBA: Former UCLA star will be reunited with Reggie Miller. Pistons trade John Salley to the Heat.

From Times Wire Services

The Minnesota Timberwolves, continuing to overhaul their lineup after finishing with the NBA’s worst record last season, Tuesday traded Pooh Richardson, their best player, and Sam Mitchell to the Indiana Pacers for high-scoring Chuck Person and Micheal Williams.

Also Tuesday, the Detroit Pistons responded to John Salley’s demands for a new contract by trading the veteran power forward to the Miami Heat for the rights to Isaiah Morris, a rookie second-round choice, and a first-round pick in either 1993 or ’94.

Richardson, who had known about the possibility of the trade since last week, was the Timberwolves’ first draft pick before their inaugural season in 1989-90 and had led the team in assists in each of the first three seasons. In Indiana, he will be reunited with former UCLA teammate Reggie Miller.

Person was rookie of the year in 1986-87 after being the fourth player drafted and has been at his best during the postseason. He holds the NBA single-game playoff record for three-pointers with seven.

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“He’s a big-time scorer,” Minnesota President Bob Stein said. “When have we really had a player with the ability to take over the game? We really never had. He and Christian Laettner will give us firepower, which is what hurt us last year.”

Williams, Indiana’s starting point guard the last two seasons, averaged 15 points and 8.2 assists a game in 1991-92 and was second-team all-defense in a league-wide vote by coaches. Mitchell, like Richardson an original member of the Timberwolves, started at forward for much of his three seasons.

The deal could give the Timberwolves at least five significant additions when training camp opens in a month: Person, Williams and rookies Laettner, Marlon Maxey and Tim Burroughs.

Salley, a member of both Piston championship teams, averaged 9.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in 72 games last season, his seventh with Detroit. He will make $2.2 million in 1992-93 and is eligible to become a free agent in July.

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In exchange for the 6-foot-11 forward-center, the Pistons got Morris, a 6-8, 288-pound forward from Arkansas, and Miami’s No. 1 draft pick in 1993, unless it’s in the top five. In that case, Detroit gets Miami’s second-round 1993 pick plus the top 1994 draft pick.

The Pistons were on the verge of trading Salley to the Heat in June. His agent, Peter Kupelian, said he got permission to talk to the Heat, resulting in a tentative deal worth $15 million over five years. Salley said then that the Pistons got cold feet over the deal and scuttled it.

“John Salley wants to be in Miami,” said Lewis Schaffel, Heat managing general partner.

“He didn’t come here to be here for a year. We had no interest in making the trade unless he was interested in being here for a long time.”

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In other NBA news, league officials acknowledged they are in the process of hiring replacement referees to protect against a possible strike by officials.

The union’s collective bargaining agreement with the NBA expired Sept. 1. A negotiating session is scheduled Thursday.

“Our first preference is to make a deal, but if we don’t have an agreement, we have to deal with that contingency,” NBA General Counsel Gary Bettman said.


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