Sonics Acquire Russell and Watson in Four-Team Deal
February 23, 2006


SEATTLE - The Seattle SuperSonics announced today they have acquired Earl Watson, Bryon Russell and a 2008 second-round draft pick from the Denver Nuggets in a four-team, nine-player trade including Portland and Sacramento. As part of the deal, Denver will receive Seattle’s Reggie Evans and Portland’s Ruben Patterson and Charles Smith. In addition, Seattle’s Vitaly Potapenko and Portland’s Sergei Monia will join Sacramento while Denver’s Voshon Lenard and Sacramento’s Brian Skinner head to Portland.

“We drafted Earl in 2001 after his solid career at UCLA, and it will be great to have him back with the Sonics,” said Sonics General Manager Rick Sund. “With his talent, we’ll have a good flow at the point-guard position. We thank Reggie and Vitaly for their hard work over the past few years and wish them the best of luck in Denver and Sacramento.”

Watson has averaged 7.5 points, 3.5 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 46 games with the Nuggets this season while shooting 42.9 percent from the field. Originally selected by the Sonics in the second round (40th overall pick) of the 2001 NBA Draft, Watson is now in his fifth NBA season. The 26-year-old holds career averages of 6.0 points, 3.6 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 19.4 minutes in 350 games.

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Russell, who recently returned to action following a medial meniscus tear in his right knee suffered during the preseason, holds career averages of 7.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 840 games. Originally selected by the Utah Jazz in the second round (45th overall pick) of the 1993 NBA Draft, Russell is now in his 13th NBA season.

“In Earl, we get a proven point guard,” said Sonics Head Coach Bob Hill. “He has great quickness and can control the tempo of the game.”

Currently in his fourth NBA campaign, Evans has registered 5.9 points and 6.7 rebounds in 41 appearances with the Sonics this season. The former University of Iowa player holds career averages of 4.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 20.3 minutes in 189 games. Evans was originally signed by Seattle as a free agent in September of 2002.

Potapenko is in his 10th NBA season and his fourth with the Sonics. The Kiev, Ukraine native was originally selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 12th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. He holds career averages of 6.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 19.6 minutes per game in 574 contests. Potapenko averaged 3.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 13.4 minutes in 24 appearances with the Sonics this season.