All-Star forward Danny Manning finally got his wish Thursday when the Clippers traded him to the Atlanta Hawks for All-Star forward Dominique Wilkins and a conditional first round draft pick in 1994 or 1995.
"I'm relieved that it's finally over," Manning said in an interview with TNT. "And I'm just glad I know where I'm going to be for the next few months."
Manning, 27, who earns $3.25 million this season and can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, didn't indicate whether he planned to sign a long-term contract with the Hawks.
"We haven't talked about a new contract yet," Manning said.
Ron Grinkner, Manning's agent, who has maintained that he wouldn't discuss a new contract until after the season if Manning were traded, praised Hawks executives Pete Babcock and Stan Kasten and Coach Lenny Wilkens.
"I'm very close friends with Pete Babcock and Stan Kasten and that is a place where he could play," Grinker said. "The Olympics are going to be there in 1996 and it would certainly be nice to be able to go home to your own bed and sleep and be able to go to the stadium and play.
"But I can assure you of this, and I've been as consistent as we can be, that we don't intend to discuss or even contemplate anything until July 1."
Wilkins, who is in the final year of a contract that pays him a reported $3.5 million and can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, said he hasn't discussed a new contract with the Clippers.
But even if the Clippers are unable to resign Wilkins, they will have his salary slot to sign a free agent and they'll also have the first round draft pick in 1994. In 1995, the pick would be conditional upon Atlanta signing Manning, said Clipper spokesman Joe Safety.
The trade reunites Wilkins with Clipper Coach Bob Weiss, who coached him for the last three seasons in Atlanta, where there were reports of friction between them.
Wilkins insisted that they have a good working relationship.
"Bobby and I always had a great relationship," Wilkins said. "We respect each other and we're able to debate with one another. I think when you have the respect, it makes a relationship a lot easier."
Wilkins, 34, who has spent his entire 12-year NBA career in Atlanta, was so upset over being traded from a contending team to a team that probably won't make the playoffs, that he went for a drive and Hawk executives had a difficult time reaching him to inform him of the deal.
Although there had been speculation that the Hawks would trade Wilkins, he said he was still surprised.
"I'm surprised that it went down," Wilkins said. "But I think it's probably the best move for me even though I felt we had a chance to compete for a championship this year.
"It's a little disappointing in the way they handled it, but, at the same time, I've always wanted to be in L.A. and I'm happy to come to the Clippers."
Although Wilkins (6-8, 215 pounds) is an eight-time All-Star who won the NBA scoring title in 1985-86 and finished second behind Michael Jordan last season, he doesn't feel he got the respect he deserved in Atlanta because of the Hawks' so-so playoff history. The NBA's sixth leading scorer this season, Wilkins is averaging 24.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Manning, the league's seventh leading scorer, is averaging 23.7 points, 7 rebounds and 4.2 assists.
The Utah Jazz acquired shooting guard Jeff Hornacek and swingman Sean Green from the Philadelphia 76ers for guard Jeff Malone and a No. 1 draft pick. . . . The Milwaukee Bucks sent center-forward Frank Brickowski, their leading scorer, to the Charlotte Hornets for center Mike Gminski and a No. 1 pick. . . . On Wednesday, Chicago had traded forward Stacey King to Minnesota for center Luc Longley. . . . One trade that didn't go through: the Boston Celtics were set to send Ed Pinckney to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Mike Brown, but Minnesota General Manager Jack McCloskey called it off at the last minute.
He Could Have Been a Contender
Dominique Wilkins, the eight-time All-Star acquired Thursday by the Clippers in a trade for Danny Manning, goes from a team battling for the Central Division title to one battling to stay out of the Pacific Division cellar. A look at the key statistics of the principals of the trade:
FG% FT% RPG APG PPG 1993-94 .432 .854 6.2 2.3 24.4 Career .467 .813 6.9 4.0 26.4
FG% FT% RPG APG PPG 1993-94 .493 .674 7.0 4.4 23.7 Career .518 .741 6.4 3.0 19.1