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News » Gooden could make smooth transition

Gooden could make smooth transition

Gooden could make smooth transition
Nobody in the Spurs organization is saying anything on the record about Drew Gooden, the 6-foot-10 power forward cut loose by the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night, in time to be added to the playoff roster of any team that might pick him up.

But others around the league call a Gooden-to-the-Spurs signing nearly a done deal, as soon as he clears waivers.

At the least, the Spurs appear highly interested in a player who started for the Cleveland Cavaliers when the Spurs played them in the 2007 NBA Finals.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich acknowledged that the Spurs approached Sunday's waiver wire news "professionally."

In addition to Gooden's release, Oklahoma City negotiated a deal to buy out Joe Smith's contract and Stromile Smith was waived by the Nets.

"We've got to do our work, just like everybody else," Popovich said. "So when there's a trade deadline, or waiver wires, we pay attention to it, like any other team would, because you're always trying to upgrade your team if you think you can."

Popovich did a masterful job of dodging questions calculated to make him tip his hand about his team's interest in Gooden, who played in Cleveland for coach Mike Brown, whose defensive system is closely akin to that of Popovich, whom he served as an assistant.

Asked if any player already schooled in the rudiments of the Spurs' defensive scheme would have a leg up on making a smooth transition, Popovich cut off a questioner.

"I'm not even going there," he said, chuckling. "That's very clever."

Adding players this late, he said, always carries some risk.

"It's just logic that the later in a season a team might add a player, the more difficult it could be, but that depends on the player's intelligence and experience," he said.

In any case, none of the waived players can sign with any team before Wednesday, 48 hours after their releases.

Popovich wouldn't talk about Gooden, but Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy gave an analysis of what he could do for the Spurs.

Calling starting Spurs center Matt Bonner a dangerous offensive player who can be exploited by bigger players on the other end of the court, Dunleavy said Gooden would give the Spurs options against playoff opponents with big front lines.

"Now, it gives them a bigger, better rebounder and a physical guy, so they can mix and match, based on who they're playing a little bit better for sure."

Sobering news: Spurs guard Roger Mason Jr., who enjoys summertime deep sea fishing outings, has been sobered by the news of a boating accident involving a pair of NFL players.

Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper and Detroit Lions free-agent safety Corey Smith, remain missing after an accident Saturday in waters off Clearwater, Fla.

"We have been out in some choppy conditions," Mason said of going out with his brother, "and I've been told a couple of times that we couldn't go out. We had to cancel a couple of trips, much to my chagrin. I didn't want to cancel, but they said the weather could pick up.

"It's scary, and I'm praying for those guys."

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: March 4, 2009


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