July 1, 1995 in Sports

Lockout Stalls Sonics-Kings Swap Deal Would Have Involved Marciulionis For Brickowski

Theresa Smith Tacoma News Tribune
 

The NBA’s lockout Friday short-circuited a possible trade between the Seattle SuperSonics and the Sacramento Kings.

Sonics president and general manager Wally Walker acknowledged the Kings were one of the teams he was negotiating with when time ran out.

Walker and Kings vice president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie were discussing a swap of Sonics’ shooting guard Sarunas Marciulionis and Sacramento center Frank Brickowski.

The Sonics need a backup center to replace Bill Cartwright, who is retiring and is expected to join the coaching staff. Brickowski, a 6-foot-9, 11th-year journeyman, missed all of last season because of a right (shooting) shoulder injury. He dislocated his shoulder Oct.27 in a preseason game against Detroit and underwent surgery Jan.24.

A Penn State graduate, Brickowski played in Italy (1981-82), France (1982-83), and Israel (1983-84) before breaking into the NBA with the Sonics in 1984. He also played for the Los Angeles Lakers (1986-87), San Antonio (1987-90), Milwaukee (1990-93) and Charlotte (1994) while building a career scoring average of 10.6 and a career rebounding average of 4.9. The Sonics attempted to sign him last summer, but the Kings beat them to it.

Marciulionis came to the Sonics with Byron Houston last summer in exchange for Ricky Pierce, the draft rights to Carlos Rogers and two 1995 second-round choices. Injuries limited the native Lithuanian to only 30 games from 1992-94.

As a Sonic, Marciulionis averaged 18 minutes and 9.3 points on 47-percent shooting, including 40 percent from the 3-point line. Sonics coach George Karl didn’t use Marciulionis while losing in the first-round of the playoffs to the Lakers, and Marciulionis publicly expressed his disenchantment with Karl.

Trade talks around the league ended sooner than the advertised midnight Eastern time deadline because the New York-based NBA executives who approve trades left their offices at 5 p.m. Eastern time.

Trades and trade talks are not allowed during the lockout, nor are contract negotiations, free-agent signings and any other dealings between management and players. July 1 was targeted as the starting date for contract negotiations, including a new, longterm deal for Sonics’ all-star guard Gary Payton.

Other than the absence of such wheeling and dealing, the NBA’s players do not appear to be in dire straits. They’re already on summer vacation and their paychecks will continue until fall.

But some of them fear the lockout could damage their relationship with fans the way baseball and hockey’s recent labor problems did.

“I think we have to be very careful,” former Sonics guard Kendall Gill said by phone from Chicago. “The fans are what made us. We want to be different from baseball and hockey. That’s one thing that got us ahead, we resolved our problems.”

Toronto Raptors guard Damon Stoudamire, who was selected with the seventh choice in the draft Wednesday, hopes the NBA and its players realize they could be ruining the game.

“The popularity of the NBA is at an alltime high,” said Stoudamire, by phone from his Portland home. “For us to be locked out is horrible. I think everyone involved understands that. That’s why I don’t think it’ll last long.”

Sonics’ fan Ray Fraissinet of Yelm sympathizes with Stoudamire and his fellow rookies.

“All those young people come out of school and now they don’t even have a job,” he said.

In another development, new Sonic swingman David Wingate, who has a history of knee injuries, passed his physical.

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