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Bucks Trade Robinson to Hawks for Kukoc, Smith

From Staff and Wire Reports

The Milwaukee Bucks traded forward Glenn Robinson to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday for forwards Toni Kukoc and Leon Smith and a first-round draft choice in 2003.

Robinson, 29, part of an underachieving team that missed the playoffs last season, joins a club that has had losing records for three consecutive seasons. But Hawk management has guaranteed the team will make the playoffs this season, promising a partial refund to season-ticket holders if they don’t make it.

Robinson will play small forward on a front line that includes Shareef Abdur-Rahim and former league shot-block leader Theo Ratliff, who has been injured for most of the last two seasons.

In eight seasons, Robinson has averaged 21.1 points and 6.2 rebounds.

“It’s extremely exciting to add a player of Glenn’s capabilities,” Atlanta Coach Lon Kruger said in a statement. “He’s one of the premier offensive players in the league and I think his abilities will mesh well with Shareef and Theo. When you add a player of Glenn’s caliber, you have to give up a quality person and player in Toni Kukoc.”

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The Bucks missed the playoffs and players often bickered with Coach George Karl. The trade means Milwaukee has broken up its “big three” of Robinson, Ray Allen and Sam Cassell, who led the team to the Eastern Conference finals only two years ago.

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Arvydas Sabonis, considering a return to the NBA after a season off, has told acquaintances that he would not consider playing for the Lakers because they could not afford him.

Well over the salary cap and having spent their mid-level exception as the starting point for Devean George’s multiyear contract, the Lakers have only their $1.4-million exception left to lure Sabonis or another backup for Shaquille O’Neal.

Sabonis, who averaged 10.1 points and 5.4 rebounds two seasons ago for the Portland Trail Blazers, apparently is hoping for a contract that would pay him closer to $8 million per season. Sources said he would play for a Spanish team if the Trail Blazers could not meet his salary demands.

Sabonis is expected to meet next week with Trail Blazer officials.

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Houston Rocket guard Steve Francis has been diagnosed with an inner ear disorder that causes migraine headaches.

Francis, who missed seven games because of migraines last season, has Meniere’s Disease, which results from an abnormal amount of fluid in the inner ear.

Tennis

Guillermo Canas upset No. 2 Marat Safin, 7-5, 6-2, to advance to the semifinals of the $2.95-million Tennis Masters Canada at Toronto.

Safin, who won the tournament two years ago, had become the favorite when No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt lost in the first round Monday at the National Tennis Centre at York University.

Safin made 19 unforced errors in the first set. The 22-year-old Russian grew angrier during the match, cursing and raising his racket as if to slam it to the court.

Canas, from Argentina, is unseeded and ranked 20th in the world. Canas advances to today’s semifinals against No. 3 Tommy Haas of Germany, who outlasted Fabrice Santoro of France, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

No. 12 Andy Roddick of the United States defeated No. 15 David Nalbandian of Argentina, 6-3, 6-2.

Roddick blasted seven aces to Nalbandian’s one.

Roddick improved to 43-13 in matches this year, and will increase his 2002 earnings to more than $600,000 this weekend.

Hockey

Wayne Gretzky refuted published reports that said he was preparing for a comeback, saying he took part in a recent Phoenix Coyote rookie camp not to get into playing shape but to strengthen a neck injury and for enjoyment.

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Center Ray Ferraro, who overcame his small stature to become a star in the NHL, retired after 18 seasons to join ESPN as a hockey broadcaster.

The 5-foot-8 Ferraro, who was an unrestricted free agent, ended last season with St. Louis.

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The Florida Panthers signed veteran left wing Stephane Matteau to a one-year contract.... Carolina defenseman Niclas Wallin, who scored two game-winning overtime goals during the Hurricanes’ run to the Stanley Cup finals, signed a two-year contract with the team.... Forward Josh Green accepted the Edmonton Oilers’ qualifying offer for next season. Green, 24, had 10 goals and five assists in 61 games with Edmonton last season.

Miscellany

Ian Thorpe won the 100-meter freestyle, collecting his fifth gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England.

Thorpe finished the 100 in 48.73 seconds, a Commonwealth Games record, and remained on course in his bid for seven gold medals in the games.

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Oleg Lisogor of Ukraine broke the world record in the men’s 50-meter breaststroke, finishing in 27.18 seconds at the European Swimming Championships at Berlin.

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The president of the World Boxing Council has filed a $56-million lawsuit against Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, saying he was knocked out, spat on and threatened during a fracas between the fighters at a news conference in January.

Jose Sulaiman said in court papers that he sustained severe physical and psychological injuries in the melee Jan. 22 in New York.

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Terry Cook dominated the Power Stroke Diesel 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, leading 189 laps and winning the Craftsman Truck Series race by more than a second.

Passings

Peter Carter, coach of Switzerland’s Davis Cup team, died of injuries sustained in a car accident while on vacation in South Africa.

Swiss Tennis said Carter, 37, crashed early Thursday, but gave no other details.

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Jack Tighe, whose 52 years in organized baseball included a stint as the Detroit Tigers’ manager in the 1950s, died Thursday at age 88 in Pompano Beach, Fla.


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