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Norcross grad Meeks part of wild NBA trade deadline

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond wanted to add another scoring threat to take some of the pressure off rookie Brandon Jennings, even if it meant helping a division rival clear salary cap space to go shopping in free agency this summer.

Hammond sent forwards Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander -- and, more important, their expiring contracts -- to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for guard John Salmons on Thursday, adding a veteran player who showed he can be counted on to score in a playoff series against Boston last year.

That's something the Bucks could use right now.

''We have had issues at times, especially starting games -- how can we find ways to score points if by chance Andrew (Bogut) isn't scoring early or Brandon's not having the chance to hit some early shots,'' Hammond said. ''We've had difficulty. And once again, I think John's the kind of player that's proven he can score.''

The Bucks also obtained the Bulls' second-round picks in 2011 and 2012, along with the option to switch first-round picks in the 2010 draft -- provided that Chicago's pick isn't in the top 10.

Hammond then made another move before Thursday's deadline, sending rookie guard Jodie Meeks, a Norcross grad, and center Francisco Elson to Philadelphia for Royal Ivey, center Primoz Brezec and a second-round pick in the 2010 draft.

It will be Ivey's second stint in Milwaukee, having played in a career-high 75 games -- including 20 starts -- and averaging 5.6 points per game in the 2007-08 season.

Hammond said the 76ers expressed an interest in Meeks almost immediately after Milwaukee took him in the second round of last year's draft.

McGrady trade the big deal on deadline day

The Cleveland Cavaliers hope they took another step toward keeping LeBron James. The New York Knicks are in better position for a run at him -- and a second superstar, too.

And they aren't the only team lining up for a chance to become a summer spender.

The Knicks acquired former scoring champion Tracy McGrady on Thursday in a three-team swap with the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings. The deal left them on the verge of being able to offer two maximum salary contracts to the 2010 free agent class that could be headlined by James.

Amare Stoudemire could be in the market for one if he decides to leave Phoenix -- where he'll again finish the season after spending the weeks before the deadline atop the trade rumor mill.

''I've maintained that unless there was something out there that improved our team and put us in a lot better position moving forward, then we weren't going to do anything. And that was the case,'' Suns general manager Steve Kerr said.

Chicago, Washington and Sacramento all cleared enough salary in moves before the 3 p.m. deadline to be able to afford a max player, and the Los Angeles Clippers got close.

The Cavaliers gave James more reason to stay home. They acquired forward Antawn Jamison on Wednesday, a deal that could make the Eastern Conference leaders even stronger.

''We're trying to build a franchise that all players want to be a part of, that can have sustainable success and do things at a high level,'' general manager Danny Ferry said. ''Clearly LeBron's an important player for Northeast Ohio, for Cleveland, for the Cavaliers. It's all ground in winning, too. Antawn can help us win. We're excited what he can bring to us over the next few years.''