Source: Cavs On Verge Of Trading Andre Miller To Clippers

By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - Andre Miller, the NBA's assist leader last season, and forward Bryant Stith were on the verge of being traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Clippers for forwards Darius Miles and Harold Jamison, The Associated Press has learned.

A team source told the AP that the teams were finalizing the deal and that it could be announced Wednesday.

"It's not done yet, but it's close," the source said Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Some things still have to be worked out."

Miller, 26, was nearly traded to the Clippers on draft night last month, but the deal fell through.

A Cavaliers spokesman would not confirm the four-player trade Monday, and said the team had no announcements planned. No one from the Clippers was available for comment Monday.

The 6-foot-2 Miller averaged 10.9 assists last season for the Cavs, but he can become a restricted free agent after this season and had told Cleveland he wants a maximum contract.

But the team, which owner Gordon Gund has denied he is selling, didn't plan to offer Miller a new deal until he becomes an unrestricted free agent next season.

In exchange for Miller, the Cavs are getting Miles, a 6-foot-9 bundle of energy and athleticism the club hopes can help sell tickets at Gund Arena next season and beyond.

He averaged 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds last season and helped the Clippers partially shed their sad-sack image as one of the league's worst teams.

Miles' agent, Jeffrey Wechsler of Miami, said the deal wasn't done.

"There has not been a trade completed yet," he said Monday. "If a trade involving Darius is completed I'm sure he'll be very disappointed for the fans of the Los Angeles Clippers."

Miles, who will turn 21 in October, was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2000 NBA draft out of high school. He averaged 9.4 points in 81 games as a rookie, and showed flashes he could be a future All-Star.

Miller has also emerged as one of the NBA's rising stars, and the former Utah standout would be returning to his hometown to play with the Clippers.

Miller's departure would mean the Cavs need a point guard. That job could go to Dajuan Wagner, a shooting guard who was taken by Cleveland with the sixth overall pick in last month's draft.

Wagner has played well during the Cavs' summer league games.

The source said Los Angeles general manager Elgin Baylor stayed in contact with the Cavs over the past few weeks after the prospective deal on draft night fell through in hopes he could rework the trade.

The Clippers have two point guards on their roster -- Keyon Dooling, who was limited to 14 games last season, his second in the NBA, due to a severely sprained left ankle, and 23-year-old Marko Jaric, a second-round draft pick two years ago who they signed to a multiyear contract three weeks ago. Jaric has been playing in the Italian League.

Jeff McInnis, the starter last season, is an unrestricted free agent who has yet to be signed. His backup, Earl Boykins, was released by the Clippers last month.

Jamison, 25, was signed as a free agent by the Clippers shortly before the start of last season. He averaged 1.9 points and 1.6 rebounds in 25 games.

Stith, 31, missed 12 games last season because of a hip flexor and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last week. He is not expected to miss the start of training camp in October.

The 6-5 Stith, who was signed as a free agent last August, averaged 4.2 points in 50 games.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)