Sources: Mavs deal Daniels for Croshere

Somebody had to pay for Dallas' collapse in the NBA Finals. The Mavericks started with someone they owed a lot of money.

NBA front-office sources told ESPN's Marc Stein Wednesday night that the Mavs have agreed to trade forward Marquis Daniels to the Indiana Pacers for veteran forward Austin Croshere. The Dallas Morning News also reported that the deal was confirmed by Mavericks officials.

Daniels, who averaged 10.2 points and 3.6 rebounds last year in his third season in Dallas, signed a six-year, $36.8-million contract before the 2004 season. He has three guaranteed years remaining at $6 million per year and a fourth-year team option at $7 million.

Since he had fallen down the depth chart behind Jerry Stackhouse and Josh Howard in the small forward rotation, he became an expensive luxury. He averaged only 3.4 points per game in this season's playoffs. Dallas' drafting of swingman Maurice Ager out of Michigan State was a very visible sign that the 6-foot-6 Daniels might not be in the Mavs' plans.

"That's a great opportunity to play for a great coach and for a
great team," Glenn Schwartzman, Daniels' agent said of his client's impending move. "Marquis feels with the moves
they've already made and the fact that they're going younger and
more athletic, that they're going to be a tough team to play

The 6-foot-10 Croshere, who averaged 8.2 points and 5.3 rebounds last season, has just one year remaining on his contract at $7 million. He helps the Mavs hedge their bets on Keith Van Horn, who is a free agent and appears to be drawing interest around the league.

Daniels is the Pacers' first acquisiton since sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic reached a verbal agreement Saturday to leave Indiana and sign with the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. The 25-year-old was not selected in the 2003 draft but promptly earned a big contract after a strong rookie season under Don Nelson.

Nelson viewed Daniels as a player with three-position potential -- point guard, shooting guard and small forward. But when Nelson was resigned in March 2005 and replaced by Avery Johnson, Daniels gradually faded out of favor.

The Pacers were drawn to Daniels' versatility and will try to reignite his career after finally finding a taker for Croshere, who has been shopped for years after struggling to live up to the sizable contract he received after a strong performance in the 2000 NBA Finals.

Croshere affords Dallas some future salary-cap flexibility as well as frontcourt experience and proficiency from the perimeter. He is likely to claim minutes as a backup to Dirk Nowitzki, minutes that last season went to Van Horn.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.