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TALK NOT ALL ABOUT DUNCAN.

Byline: David Moore The Dallas Morning News

The San Antonio Spurs got the best player.

Philadelphia and New Jersey made the most noise.

There was no drama with the first pick of Wednesday's draft. NBA commissioner David Stern made official what had been known for more than six weeks when he announced the Spurs selected Wake Forest center Tim Duncan with the first pick.

``I'm glad to be here and have it done with,'' said Duncan, who will be welcomed to San Antonio with a rally in front of the Alamo on Thursday evening. ``I was a lot more nervous than I thought I was going to be. But it was a great feeling.''

The feeling for Philadelphia's No. 2 pick Keith Van Horn - along with the 76ers and Nets - was one of limbo.

Philadelphia and New Jersey created a tremor roughly three hours before the draft when they agreed to a major deal. The Nets would send No. 7, No. 21, Jim Jackson and Eric Montross to the Sixers for No. 2, Michael Cage, Lucious Harris, a Cleveland High School product, and Don MacLean, a former Simi Valley and UCLA star.

Thirty minutes before the draft tipped off, Boston put the trade on hold. The Celtics notified the league it was challenging the fact Philadelphia voided an earlier deal for medical reasons.

Boston sent Dino Radja to the Sixers last week for Cage and Clarence Weatherspoon. Radja refused to report until threatened with legal action by the Celtics. He arrived in Philadelphia on Tuesday afternoon. Later that evening, the Sixers announced they had voided the deal because Radja - who missed the final 57 games of last season with a sore left knee - failed his physical.

The Celtics believe Radja is healthy and want the matter to go to arbitration. Stern will rule on the dispute after reviewing the information. There is no timetable. Until he arrives at a decision, no one included in the original deal between Boston and Philadelphia can change teams.

That means the trade involving Van Horn can't be completed until Stern rules on the Sixers-Celtics dispute or Philadelphia substitutes another player for Cage.

``A lot of guys who get drafted right now know they're going to that team,'' Van Horn said. ``I don't know that for sure right now.''

Van Horn refused to visit Philadelphia for a workout and interview, saying he felt other teams would be a better fit for him. But Tuesday evening, after the Radja deal fell apart, Sixers coach Larry Brown insisted that agent David Falk allow him to talk to Van Horn by phone.

Falk relented.

``I have a great amount of respect for him,'' Van Horn said of Brown. ``He's a great coach. I think he felt the same way that I do, which is I really wouldn't fit in with them.

``When we talked, he said drafting me was still a consideration and he might do something after that.''

Brown's desire to shake up the Sixers doesn't appear to stop with Van Horn. There are indications that Philadelphia has agreed to a deal that would send disgruntled forward Derrick Coleman to Miami for P.J. Brown and Dan Majerle.

The Sixers, however, didn't monopolize the evening as far as trades were concerned. Denver selected Texas Tech's Tony Battie with the No. 5 pick and cut two other deals.

The Nuggets sent center Ervin Johnson to the Bucks for No. 10 pick Danny Fortson and forwards Johnny Newman and Joe Wolf. This opened up the starting center job for Battie. Denver then turned around and sent their first pick of the second round (33) and next year's second-round pick to Seattle for the rights to Minnesota point guard Bobby Jackson, who was taken by the SuperSonics at No. 23.

A trade that didn't unfold also created a stir.

Chicago and Boston discussed a deal that would have sent Scottie Pippen and Luc Longley to the Celtics for Antoine Walker and the No. 3 and No. 6 picks in Wednesday's draft. There were reports the Bulls were ready to pull the trigger on the deal but backed down when Michael Jordan - who has stated his desire to keep the team intact - threatened to retire.

Jordan remains. So do Pippen and Longley.

``They wanted to really sweeten it, and we couldn't do that,'' Boston coach Rick Pitino said of the proposed deal.

As for the future of Van Horn...

``I think it may happen,'' Van Horn said of an impending trade to New Jersey. ``But nothing's ever really finalized in this league until something is signed.''

FIRST-ROUND SELECTIONS

No. Team Player Pos. School/Team

1. San Antonio Tim Duncan C Wake Forest

2. Philadelphia Keith Van Horn F Utah

3. Boston Chauncey BillupsG Colorado

4. Vancouver Antonio Daniels G Bowling Green

5. Denver Tony Battie C Texas Tech

6. Boston Ron Mercer F Kentucky

7. New Jersey Tim Thomas F Villanova

8. Golden State Adonal Foyle C Colgate

9. Toronto Tracy McGrady F Mount Zion Christian Academy (H.S.)

10. a-Milwaukee Danny Fortson F Cincinnati

11. Sacramento Olivier Saint-Jean F San Jose St

12. Indiana Austin Croshere F Providence

13. Cleveland Derek Anderson G Kentucky

14. Clippers Maurice Taylor F Michigan

15. b-Dallas Kelvin Cato C Iowa St

16. Cleveland Brevin Knight G Stanford

17. Orlando Johnny Taylor F Tennessee-Chattanooga

18. b-Portland Chris Anstey C South East Melbourne (Australia)

19. Detroit Scot Pollard F Kansas

20. Minnesota Paul Grant C Wisconsin

21. New Jersey Anthony Parker G Bradley

22. Atlanta Ed Gray G California

23. c-Seattle Bobby Jackson G Minnesota

24. Houston Rodrick Rhodes G USC

25. New York John Thomas F Minnesota

26. Miami Charles Smith G New Mexico

27. Utah Jacque Vaughn G Kansas

28. Chicago Keith Booth F Maryland

a-Milwaukee traded F Johnny Newman, F-C Joe Wolf and the rights to Danny Fortson (10th pick) to Denver for C Ervin Johnson.

b-Dallas traded the rights to C Kelvin Cato (15th pick) to Portland for the rights to C Chris Anstey (18th pick) and an undisclosed amount of money.

c-Seattle traded the rights to G Bobby Jackson (23rd pick) to Denver for the rights to G James Cotton (33rd pick) and a 1998 second-round draft pick.

d-Philadelphia traded the rights to G James Collins (37th pick) to the Clippers for a 1998 second-round draft pick.

CAPTION(S):

2 Photos, Chart

Photo: (1) Bradley guard Anthony Parker, selected 21st by New Jersey, hugs his sister, Candace.

(2) San Antonio made Wake Forest star Tim Duncan the first pick of Wednesday's NBA Draft and will team him with David Robinson.

Associated Press

Chart: FIRST-ROUND SELECTIONS (see text)
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 26, 1997
Words:1106
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