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Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 5:52 pm
My proof, directly from the archives of the SF Chronicle:
Warriors Deal for Jamison
Raptors get cash, Carter for Tar Heel
David Steele, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, June 25, 1998
This much is clear: The Warriors really, really wanted Antawn Jamison.
And right now, that's about all that is clear about their newest player.
The Warriors thought highly enough of the 6-foot-9 North Carolina forward, the consensus college player of the year this past season, to send the Toronto Raptors cold, hard cash for the right to draft him.
The Raptors picked Jamison fourth overall in last night's NBA draft in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Warriors took his Tar Heel teammate, swingman Vince Carter, with the next pick. But before long, both players switched hats, and Jamison -- who dominated inside for a North Carolina team that reached last spring's Final Four -- was a Warrior.
Despite Jamison's credentials, the move immediately raised a number of questions: Why did the Warriors fill a position that's already stocked? Why did they pass on the wealth of guards available? Where exactly will the newcomer play?
To general manager Garry St. Jean and coach P.J. Carlesimo, none of that mattered. Both used the word ``special'' to describe Jamison, and Carlesimo went as far as invoking the name of James Worthy, pointing out that Jamison's former coaches, Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge, compared Jamison to the future Hall of Famer and member of the NBA's 50th anniversary team.
``Antawn, we think, is going to be special,'' Carlesimo said. ``And he'll be special in the very near future.''
Jamison will be special, the Warriors' brain trust said, because he can make an impact at either forward position. That theory goes against the beliefs of some that he is too small to play power forward and doesn't have the skills to play small forward.
Jamison disagreed, however. ``That's one reason I think Golden State tried to get me. I think I really surprised them by the way I could shoot the ball,'' he said. ``I didn't visit a lot of teams, but the ones I did visit I showed I could shoot the ball and convinced them.''
And as far as playing the other position, he added, ``There are going to be opportunities for me to play the `four' and I'll be very comfortable playing the four. I have no problem with that.''
In taking Jamison (who averaged 22.2 points and 10.5 rebounds as a junior this past season), the Warriors passed on the bevy of talented guards still on the board, including St. Louis' Larry Hughes (who went eighth to Philadelphia) and, surprisingly, Kansas' Paul Pierce (who lasted until No. 10, to Boston).
The Warriors' argument -- an extremely valid one -- is that at 19-63, they couldn't afford to be picky about areas of need. Their most desperate need is at guard, with Latrell Sprewell ticketed out of town sometime before next season, with off-guard Jim Jackson a free agent, and with no sure-fire starting point guard.
However, said assistant general manager Gary Fitzsimmons, drafting strictly for need can be dangerous. ``If it happens to fit one of your needs, then you've hit a home run,'' he said, ``but if it doesn't, I've learned that you can make a mistake by taking a guy to fill a need instead of a guy that's the most talented.''
The Warriors had expected that Jamison, Carter, Hughes and Kansas forward Raef LaFrentz would be there when their turn came. Tuesday night, St. Jean said, they decided on Jamison.
Jamison said he knew when Toronto picked him that a trade was in the works, because he had declined to work out for the Raptors. But he thought the Dallas Mavericks were the team moving to get him. The Warriors apparently thought so, too: ``We got a tip,'' St. Jean said.
It could very well have been a smoke screen -- especially in light of the Mavs' blockbuster deal later in the draft that netted them Suns point guard Steve Nash and sent No. 6 pick Robert Traylor to Milwaukee. Nevertheless, the Warriors took no chances, started talking to the Raptors and settled on a cash deal -- believed to be between $250,000 and $500,000 -- to get the Raptors to take Jamison and then trade him.
Still, Jamison plays a position manned by Donyell Marshall, the Warriors' leading scorer and most consistent player last season, on one side, and free-agents-to-be Jason Caffey and Clarence Weatherspoon on the other. While describing where Jamison fits in, St. Jean sounded a note of skepticism about keeping Caffey and Weatherspoon, especially with an owners' lockout looming next Thursday.
``We've talked to Spoon, we've talked to Jimmy, we've talked to Jason,'' St. Jean said. ``We've expressed that we'd certainly like to have them back. We've had very positive dialogue from both of them. But with what's going to be happening next week, everything's going to be in limbo for a while. We're going to continue while we can to have discussions. We just felt like we could really get the player we wanted.''
Agent Jimmy Sexton, who represents both Caffey and Weatherspoon, said he was ``a little bit surprised'' to see the Warriors take Jamison and to hear what St. Jean said. ``Anything can happen in free agency,'' Sexton said last night, ``but I didn't give them any sign that either player wouldn't be wide-open to coming back.''
Meanwhile, while praising Marshall's improvement, St. Jean said, ``I don't think anybody, after winning 19 games, should say, `I'm locked in for 35 minutes (a game).' It's about challenges. You're going to earn your minutes.''
The Warriors will introduce Jamison at a news conference today at noon at Oakland City Center; the public is invited.