NBA: Bobcats trade for Diop

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 16, 2009

Associated Press
CHARLOTTE ó The Charlotte Bobcats and coach Larry Brown continued to tinker with their roster Friday, acquiring 7-foot defensive specialist DeSagana Diop from the Dallas Mavericks for guard Matt Carroll and center Ryan Hollins.
The Bobcats’ second trade in just over a month wasn’t nearly as big as the deal that sent top scorer Jason Richardson to Phoenix. But the move helps in Brown’s quest to get bigger up front and better defensively, while the Mavericks get a much-needed 3-point specialist in Carroll.
The 26-year-old Diop has limited offensive skills and wasn’t part of the Mavericks rotation of late, averaging just 1.6 points and 3.5 rebounds.
“I think I needed to go somewhere to get a lot more minutes,” Diop said. “I wanted to play. It was very frustrating.”
It was the second time in a year the Mavericks traded Diop. He was sent to New Jersey in the Jason Kidd trade last February. The Bobcats pursued Diop in free agency last summer, but he re-signed with Dallas.
Diop gives the Bobcats another rebounder and shot blocker and will perhaps allow undersized center Emeka Okafor to play more power forward.
“He’s going to create some flexibility for us,” Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins said. “Just having another 7-footer is always good.”
Carroll’s departure alleviates a logjam of wing shooters on Charlotte’s roster, an area where the Mavericks lacked depth beyond Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry.
Carroll had seen limited minutes this season and was averaging 4.1 points sharing playing time with Adam Morrison. But the 6-foot-6 Carroll is a career 40 percent 3-point shooter.
The 7-foot Hollins played limited minutes for Charlotte and was included in the deal to get the salaries to match. The Bobcats will be taking on Diop’s contract, which runs through 2011-12 season and averages more than $6 million a year.
Carroll is in the third season of a six-year, $27 million deal.
“When we started the season we had six players at the shooting guard and the small forward,” Higgins said. “We made a couple of trades and we’ve moved our roster around. We’ll see how this goes. We also have flexibility of another roster spot.”
Higgins said the Bobcats are still talking to other teams about possible deals. Guard Raymond Felton, a restricted free agent this summer, has been mentioned as a candidate to change teams before the Feb. 19 trade deadline.
The Bobcats, who host Portland Saturday, are 8-6 in the past 14 games and have played well since getting power forward Boris Diaw and shooting guard Raja Bell from the Suns in the Richardson trade.
Diop is scheduled to arrive in Charlotte late Saturday and will not play against the Trail Blazers.