Cavs Hope To Bask In Miles' Star Power

By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - Darius Miles has star power. The Cavaliers just hope he can play with the same dazzle in Cleveland as he did in the shadow of Hollywood.

Miles, one of the NBA's best young talents, was acquired on Tuesday by the Cavs along with forward Harold Jamison for guards Andre Miller and Bryant Stith in a deal the teams worked on for weeks.

Miles (pictured, above) learned of the trade while on location for a movie in Vancouver, British Columbia. He plays a high school student in "A Perfect Score."

It's a small role. In Cleveland, he'll have top billing.

"How many guys get asked to do movies?" Cavaliers general manager Jim Paxson said. "Shaq is one of the few guys, and he's pretty good. On that alone, we've got a shot with this kid."

To get the 6-foot-9 Miles, described last season by Washington coach Doug Collins as "a highlight film waiting to happen", the Cavs had to give up a special player.

Parting with Miller -- easily their best player -- was a difficult decision for Cleveland. The Cavaliers lost at least 50 games in each of the point guard's three seasons.

But in Miles they get a multitalented player who in two seasons has become one of the league's rising stars.

"Darius is the player we coveted," Paxson said. "He's 20, 6-foot-9 and athletic. He's got a chance to be an All-Star."

The Cavs and Clippers nearly struck a deal at the June 26 NBA draft that would have sent Miller to Los Angeles for forward Lamar Odom and the No. 8 pick. But the package fell apart, and the teams didn't talk until about 10 days ago, Paxson said.

It was then the Cavs told the Clippers: Miles or no deal. On Monday, they had an agreement.

"Darius Miles was the one player that we felt had the brightest future to make that move, and that's taking nothing away from Andre," Paxson said. "He can do a lot of things and has a huge upside."

So do the Clippers, who now feel they have a point guard that can get them to the playoffs.

In Los Angeles, Miller will be surrounded by a young, talented group -- certainly more skilled than the team he's leaving.

Elgin Baylor, the Clippers' vice president of basketball operations, was excited about getting Miller but said it was difficult to trade a player with Miles' potential.

"The one thing that makes this both easier and exciting is you are getting a proven player in return who has established himself as one of the top five point guards in the NBA," Baylor said.

Miller is coming off his best pro season, averaging 16.5 points and a league-leading 10.9 assists.

The Los Angeles native was everything the Cavs hoped for, but his contract made them nervous. He will be a restricted free agent after this season, and had made it clear he wanted a maximum contract -- about $80 million.

"We didn't trade Andre Miller because he wanted a max contract," Paxson said.

Miles, who turns 21 in October, joins guard Dajuan Wagner (19), center DeSagana Diop (20) and forwards Chris Mihm (23) and Jumaine Jones (23) in Cleveland.

Also in the mix, guard Ricky Davis (22), a restricted free agent the Cavs want to re-sign.

Miles can play guard or forward, and averaged 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in 27 minutes a game last season.

He's also charismatic, capable of selling tickets and rocking quiet Gund Arena with one of his dunks. His jersey is ranked in the top 10 in leaguewide sales, and he's already appeared in network commercials.

"Darius is a kid you like right away," Paxson said. "He plays hard. People tend to gravitate toward him. He has that gift."

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