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Aussie Jawai traded to Timberwolves

Published: 1:31PM Wednesday October 21, 2009 Source: ONE Sport

  • Mika Vukona defends Nathan Jawai (Source: Photosport)
    Mika Vukona defends Nathan Jawai - Source: Photosport

Australian Boomers forward Nathan Jawai has been traded from the Dallas Mavericks to the Minnesota Timberwolves less than a week before the start of the NBA season.

The Mavericks received a conditional second round draft pick in 2012 and cash as part of the deal.

Jawai will get more opportunities for court time with the Timberwolves than he would have had at Dallas and is not worried about the frigid temperatures common in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes".

"I'm used to the cold weather after playing in Toronto," Jawai told Basketball Australia.

"I'm finishing up a couple of games with Dallas and then heading to Minnesota at the end of the week.

"I'm looking forward to getting on court as the T'Wolves don't have many big men and I'm excited about being in Minnesota."

Jawai was the first indigenous Australian drafted into America's NBA when he was chosen by the Indiana Pacers in the second round of last year's draft.

He was subsequently sent to the Toronto Raptors where he overcame a health scare to appear in six games.

Jawai was then bundled into a four-team trade in July that took to him to Dallas along with All-Star forward Shawn Marion.

After representing Australia with distinction throughout the 2009 international program between June and August, Jawai returned to the US in September for the NBA pre-season where he received limited playing time at Dallas on a roster stacked with big men.

In Minnesota, injuries to Kevin Love (broken hand) and Al Jefferson (recovering from torn ACL) decimated the Timberwolves' front line and opened the door for Jawai's move north.

Minnesota's President of basketball operations David Kahn said however that the Timberwolves were considering the Jawai trade before Love broke his hand.

"Nathan is a young project who likely will add depth to our roster at his position," Kahn said on the Timberwolves website.

"We were contemplating this trade prior to Kevin Love's hand injury, so this move is not intended to replace Kevin in the short term by any means. That would not be fair to Nathan. Rather, this move provided us an opportunity to work with a young player with size, and later determine if he could be a fit for us."

Australia has some history with the Timberwolves, with Basketball Australia and Sport Australia Hall of Famer Luc Longley drafted to the franchise with the seventh pick in the 1991 NBA Draft.

Longley was traded to the famed Chicago Bulls after two seasons with the Timberwolves and subsequently won three NBA Championships from 1996 to 1998 as a team mate of Michael Jordan.

In other NBA news, WA's Luke Nevill was yesterday waived by Cleveland.

Nevill, a 7-foot-2 centre, averaged 2.8 points and 1.8 rebounds in 8.8 minutes per game over four games with the Cavaliers but received invaluable experience banging bodies at training with the legendary Shaquille O'Neal.

Nevill's departure leaves four Australians in the NBA: former number 1 draft pick Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee Bucks), power forward David Andersen (Houston Rockets), point guard Patty Mills (Portland Trailblazers) and Jawai.

The NBA regular season starts on October 28, Australian time, when Cleveland takes on Boston.

Houston opens its season on the road against Portland on October 28, Australian time, Minnesota hosts New Jersey on October 29 and Milwaukee opens its season on the road against Philadelphia on October 31.

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