Friday, February 24, 2006

Watson Returns to Seattle, Ariza To Orlando

By Bruin Basketball Report

Two former Bruins were dealt before the NBA trading deadline yesterday.

After months of endless speculation, former UCLA star Earl Watson was traded from the Denver Nuggets to the Seattle Sonics in a four-team swap.

Watson was initially drafted by the Sonics as a second round pick (No.40 overall) in 2001. He signed with Memphis in 2002 and played with the Grizzlies for three seasons.

This summer Watson signed a five-year, $29 million deal with the Nuggets. Despite being praised for his work effort, Watson never fit comfortably in the guard rotation which already included two other points guards, Earl Boykins and Andre Miller.

"Watson's a competitor defensively and we can definitely use the help there," Sonics general manager Rick Sund said. "We really liked him as a rookie and didn't want to lose him. We're glad to have him back."

Watson was averaging 7.5 points and 3.5 assists per game in 21 minutes for the Nuggets this season. He was also shooting 40% on three-pointers.

Earlier in the week, former Bruin forward Trevor Ariza was dealt along with Penny Hardaway by the New York Knicks to the Orlando Magic for all-star Steve Francis.

Ariza was drafted by the Knicks in the second round (No.43 overall) in 2004. He has clashed with new Knick's head coach Larry Brown this season and his playing time has been inconsistent. He was averaging 4.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in 19.7 minutes.

"A new start is always good," Ariza said. "But I'll miss those guys. That was my first NBA experience. There's always going to be some love there."



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