Trade helps Mavs' front court, Warriors' guard spot

Unlike most of the other top Western Conference contenders, the Dallas Mavericks failed to make much of a splash when the NBA free-agent period began.

But the Mavericks finally became involved in something big Friday night: an eight-player deal with the Golden State Warriors, both The Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram are reporting.

The key names in the trade: Mavs guard Nick Van Exel and Warriors forward Antawn Jamison.

The Mavericks are sending Van Exel, center/forward Evan Eschmeyer, forward Popeye Jones and veteran point guard Avery Johnson to Golden State for Jamison, power forward Danny Fortson, small forward Chris Mills and guard Jiri Welsch.

The trade can't be approved until the NBA offices open on Monday.

Van Exel was a key component off the Mavericks' bench last season, and was the team's second-leading scorer in the playoffs with a 19.5 point average. His name has been involved in various trade rumors during the past year, and prior to last season's trade deadline, he mentioned that the Mavericks might need to trade him in order to upgrade their front court.

The addition of Jamison, the Warriors' leading scorer who averaged 22.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game last season, should help. He will move into the Mavericks' starting lineup at small forward.

Fortson should provide help in the rebounding department for the Mavs. He's averaged 11 rebounds three times in his career, but only played 17 games last season due to injury.

Adding Van Exel helps the Warriors compensate for the loss of starting point guard Gilbert Arenas, who signed a six-year, $65 million free-agent deal with the Washington Wizards on July 22.

The Warriors already had picked up the Spurs' Speedy Claxton, but Van Exel provides a proven player at the point.

The other three players from the Mavericks' side are role players who were not expected to make an impact with the team this season.

The trade helps the Mavericks answer conference counterparts the Lakers, Kings and Spurs, who have each made major moves this summer.

The Lakers, of course, picked up Karl Malone and Gary Payton, while the Spurs re-signed Tim Duncan while adding players such as Radoslav Nesterovic, Hedo Turkoglu, Ron Mercer and Robert Horry. The Kings acquired center Brad Miller in a trade with the Pacers.