BORDER BATTLE: While the Brewers

BORDER BATTLE: While the Brewers and Twins were squaring off on the field this weekend, the Minnesota and Milwaukee entries in the NBA connected in another way: they made a trade. The Bucks sent point guard Sam Cassell and center Ervin “Not Magic” Johnson to the Wolves for forward Joe “not the founder of Mormonism” Smith and guard Anthony Peeler; both Johnson and Peeler were thrown in for cap purposes and are both expected to be immediately released.
I think it’s a good trade for the Wolves. Smith, possibly the worst overall #1 pick in league history, will always be a symbol of the most embarrassing gaffe in franchise history: the “illegal contract” that cost the team multiple first-round picks. Cassell may be unquestionably the ugliest player in the league (the man uncannily resembles an X-Files-like alien) but he’s a solid veteran; interestingly, Cassell was already included in a Wolves-Bucks trade of point guards- he went from the Nets to the Bucks in the 1999 three-way trade that sent Stephon Marbury to New Jersey and Terrell Brandon to the Wolves.
It’s been a pretty turbulent week for those Milwaukee Bucks: Thursday they drafted T.J. Ford of Texas, who plays Cassell’s position; on Saturday they shipped out both Cassell and General Manager Ernie Grunfeld, and then today owner (and Senator) Herbert Kohl announced that he is backing out of an agreement to sell the team to Michael Jordan. It’s unclear now whether the team will now be hanging unto Gary Payton or, for that matter, coach George Karl.

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