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Three-team trade gives Nets bargaining chips to land 'Melo

New Jersey sent swingman Terrence Williams to Houston in a three-team trade that gives the Nets two more first-round draft picks for potential use in a Carmelo Anthony deal.

New Jersey sent swingman Terrence Williams to Houston in a three-team trade that gives the Nets two more first-round draft picks for potential use in a Carmelo Anthony deal.

The Nets got the Rockets' first-round draft pick in 2012, the Los Angeles Lakers' first-round pick in 2011 and shooting guard Sasha Vujacic from the Lakers.

The Lakers get veteran forward Joe Smith in the trade.

"This trade benefits our team in both the short and long term," Nets general manager Billy King said yesterday. "Sasha is a veteran NBA player who will add depth to our backcourt rotation, while the addition of the two future No. 1 picks adds to our assets as we look to rebuild into a championship contender."

In a second trade announced yesterday, the Rockets sent guard Jermaine Taylor and cash considerations to the Sacramento Kings for a conditional second-round pick in the 2011 draft.

The Nets have five first-round picks through 2012. They own their own in 2011 and '12, got two more in the trade and have a 2011 pick from Golden State acquired in a trade for Marcus Williams. The Williams pick is lottery protected.

The Nets are interested in acquiring Anthony and were close to a deal in the preseason. The first-round picks and the Nuggets' interest in rookie power forward Derrick Favors might be their bargaining chips.

Williams is averaging 6.7 points, in a turbulent season that saw him fined for being late for practices and later sent to the franchise's D-League team in Springfield, Mass.


* Washington forward Yi Jianlian said he expects to miss 2 to 4 weeks because of a sprained right knee.

In last night's games:

* At Memphis, O.J. Mayo scored 24 points, Rudy Gay had 23 and the Grizzlies routed the Charlotte Bobcats, 113-80.

* At Toronto, Carlos Boozer had a season-high 34 points and 12 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls won their seventh straight game by beating the Raptors, 110-93.

The Bulls Joakim Noah started despite lingering pain in his sprained right thumb. After the game, the team announced he will have surgery to repair a torn ulna collateral ligament and is likely to miss 8 to 10 weeks.

* At Indianapolis, Kobe Bryant scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half to help the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Pacers, 109-94.

* At New York, Paul Pierce made a tiebreaking jumper with 0.4 seconds left, Amare Stoudemire's three-pointer at the buzzer was ruled too late, and the Boston Celtics pulled out a thrilling, 118-116 victory over the Knicks for their 11th straight win.

Pierce scored 32 points for the Celtics, who trailed most of the fourth quarter before running their record to 20-4, best in the Eastern Conference. Stoudemire had 39 points, extending his franchise-record streak to nine straight 30-point games.

* At Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 32 points, Thabo Sefolosha added a season-high 15 points and nine rebounds as the Thunder beat Houston, 117-105, for its fourth straight win.

* At Miami, Dwyane Wade scored 17 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, LeBron James added 21 points and a season-high 13 rebounds, and the Heat won its 10th straight game by holding off Cleveland, 101-95.

* At New Orleans, Chris Paul had 22 points and 11 assists, and the Hornets completed a franchise-record 23-point comeback to beat the Sacramento Kings, 94-91.

* At San Antonio, Manu Ginobili scored 26 points, including a 16-foot jumper as time expired that gave the Spurs to a 92-90 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

* At Phoenix, Jason Richardson's 29 points led the Suns over the Minnesota Timberwolves, 128-122.

* At Dallas, Caron Butler scored 23 points and Dirk Nowitzki 21 as the Mavericks overcame LaMarcus Aldridge's 35-point night to beat Portland, 103-98.