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Blazers, Nuggets deal point guards on draft night


Posted Jun 23 2011 11:08PM - Updated Jun 24 2011 2:17AM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The Trail Blazers acquired guard Raymond Felton from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for veteran guard Andre Miller in a trade Thursday night that was part of a flurry of moves that Portland made during the NBA draft.

The Blazers also traded swingman Rudy Fernandez to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the draft rights to Jordan Hamilton, the 26th overall pick who was in turn included in the deal with Denver.

It was an active draft for the Blazers and Chad Buchanan, Portland's acting general manager after the team dismissed Rich Cho last month.

Buchanan had hinted last week that there was a lot of interest in Miller because his contract, a $7.8 million team option for the coming season, is non-guaranteed.

Miller, 35, averaged 12.7 points, 7 assists and 3.7 rebounds last season.

Felton, who turns 27 on Sunday, has a year remaining on his contract that pays him $7.5 million. He was traded in February from the New York Knicks to Denver in the Carmelo Anthony deal.

He averaged 11.5 points, 3.6 points and 6.5 assists in 21 games with the Nuggets, but played behind Ty Lawson. Overall for the season he hit career highs with an average of 15.5 points and 8.3 assists.

Buchanan called Felton "a younger, experienced point guard entering the prime of his career."

"We feel like he's a guy who has gotten better and better," Buchanan said. "And we feel he'll continue to get better with us."

The Blazers also sent Dallas the NBA rights to Finnish guard Petteri Koponen, acquired in a draft-night trade in 2007.

Fernandez announced the deal via Twitter: "thanks all blazers fans for ur support this 3 years!! So happy to be in the best team in the nba!!!dallas!!!"

Fernandez, 26, has spent three seasons in Portland, averaging 9.1 points over 24.1 minutes in 218 games.

This past season, he averaged 8.6 points in the regular season but scored only 2.8 per game in a first-round series against the Mavericks. He made only 4 of 18 shots.

Hamilton, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound guard/forward, averaged 18.6 points and 7.7 rebounds over two seasons with the Texas Longhorns.

As part of the deal with Dallas, Portland also acquired the draft rights for 6-foot-6 Tanguy Ngombo, a Congolese forward who has played in Qatar since 2006.

Ngombo was the 57th overall pick. While there were reports that the Blazers had struck a deal with Minnesota for Ngombo, Buchanan would not confirm it.

"We're currently in discussions to trade his rights. I'll leave it at that," Buchanan said.

The Blazers had the 21st and 51st picks in the draft.

At No. 21, Portland selected 6-foot-2 guard Nolan Smith, who averaged 20.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists for Duke last season.

Smith declared himself eligible for last year's draft after Duke won the NCAA title, but ultimately decided to stay with the Blue Devils for his senior year.

He is the son of the late Derek Smith, who played on Louisville's 1980 NCAA championship team before a nine-year NBA career.

With the 51st pick, Portland selected guard Jon Diebler out of Ohio State.

Diebler, at 6-foot-6 and 205 pounds, averaged 12.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists with the Buckeyes last season.

He is the Big Ten's leader for career 3-pointers with 374.

"I really feel good about the moves that we made today," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "I think we got better not only right now, but for the future."

Blazers President Larry Miller, who spoke briefly Thursday night before catching a flight to New York for the NBA labor negotiations, said the Blazers will now turn their attention to hiring a permanent general manager.

The team will also decide what to do about former No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden. The Blazers have until June 30 to make an $8.8 million qualifying offer if they want to try to keep the often-injured Oden, who becomes a restricted free agent.

Miller would not hint at where the Blazers were leaning on Oden.

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