Tony Campbell, after three years as the leading scorer for the expansion Minnesota Timberwolves, will be reunited with coach Pat Riley on the New York Knicks next season.
The Knicks on Monday surrendered a second-round draft choice in either 1994, 1995 or 1996 to get Campbell, a 20.6-point scorer in his three years at Minnesota.Campbell, 30, who has played small forward and guard in his career, replaces forward Xavier McDaniel on the Knicks roster. McDaniel was signed as a free agent by the Boston Celtics last week.
"We obviously needed help at small forward, and the acquisition of Tony Campbell fills that void," Knicks vice president Ernie Grunfeld said. "Tony is a proven scorer. He is an athletic, versatile player who can create his own shot."
"With the offseason additions of Rolando Blackman, Hubert Davis and now Tony Campbell, we are a stronger club than we were a year ago, particularly from the perimeter," Knicks president David Checketts said. "Tony was the best player available without having to hurt our team's depth."
Earlier in his career, Campbell played two seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers under Riley, now coach of the Knicks.
"He'll fit in with our style of play very well," Riley said. "I've coached him before and he's a versatile player and a hard worker. During his three years with Minnesota, he has proven that he is one of the best at his position."
"I'm at a loss for words," Campbell said. "This is an opportunity to play tough, competitive basketball for a tough, competitive team in a tough, competitive market.
"It's a good marriage for me. I feel good about playing for Pat Riley again. I know what he expects from his players and I know his intensity."
Campbell was happy about leaving Minnesota, which had the worst record in the NBA last season, to the Knicks, who tied for the Atlantic Division title with a 51-31 record.
"I feel good about playing for a team that can contend for the championship," he said. "I have no problem with playing small forward. I came into the league as a forward and was converted to guard."
Campbell scored an average of 23.2 points in the Timberwolves' inaugural season of 1989-90, then fell to 21.8 and 16.8 the last two years. Late last season, Campbell lost his starting guard job to Doug West, who now ranks as the only original member of the Timberwolves still with the team.
The trade comes less than a week after the Timberwolves dealt Pooh Richardson and Sam Mitchell to Indianapolis for Chuck Person and Micheal Williams.
Team president Bob Stein said the Campbell deal frees $1.377 million salary and prorated bonuses under the salary cap, leaving the Timberwolves about $2 million for first-round draft choice Christian Laettner's first-year salary.
"In the short term, that should be adequate," Stein said. "Christian's agent may say differently, but we feel we have enough money."
He said Laettner apparently is waiting for second overall choice Alonzo Mourning to sign with Charlotte before beginning negotiations with the Timberwolves.
Stein said the Timberwolves will receive New York's second-round pick in 1994 unless the Knicks have traded that away. If the Knicks don't have a '94 second-rounder, Minnesota would get their 1995 second-rounder. If that is also gone, the Wolves would get New York's 1996 second-rounder.
Campbell, a native of Teaneck, N.J., where he still lives, operates businesses in New York and expressed a desire to play with the Knicks last season.
Stein said new Timberwolves general manager Jack McCloskey made both deals in the last week while he was vacationing in the Grand Cayman Islands.
"If this is what Jack does when he's on vacation," Stein said, "who knows what's going to happen next?"