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Marques Johnson says he is not bothered by trade...

By
MICHAEL EISEN

MILWAUKEE -- Marques Johnson says he is not bothered by trade rumors that have him leaving the Milwaukee Bucks and he will accept a deal if the Bucks move him before today's trading deadline.

'It's not that important to me,' Johnson said Tuesday night after the Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns 92-83. 'I understand the business aspect of basketball. If they feel that trading me is necessary to improve the team I'll just accept it.'

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The Milwaukee Journal reported Tuesday that the Bucks had discussed trading Johnson to the San Diego Clippers for power forward Terry Cummings. The Clippers reportedly turned down the deal because Johnson is older than Cummings and commands a greater salary.

The Bucks have been trying to obtain a power forward and Cummings, who was the NBA's rookie of the year last year, would seem to fit Milwaukee's needs perfectly.

'We have small forwards running out of our ears,' Johnson said. 'We need to shore up at power forward. You have to give up quality to get quality.'

Johnson is in his seventh season with Milwaukee and is generally recognized as one of the league's best small forwards. He has played in four All-Star games and has averaged 20.3 points a game this year.

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He said a trade to the Clippers would be preferable to going to many other NBA cities. Johnson is from Los Angeles and played his college ball at UCLA.

'The Clippers are a team with a good future,' he said. 'I can think of a lot of other situations that would be worse.'

Johnson said he has heard his name mentioned before in possible trades, but admits Tuesday's headline was unexpected.

'I opened the paper and just absorbed the shock,' he said. 'There has been a lot of speculation and my name's been bandied about, but the story today really drove it home.'

The NBA trading deadline is midnight today. One thing Johnson will not be doing is sitting around worrying about his fate.

'All I can do is wait and see if something happens,' he said. 'If I'm still here I'll go out and play my best. There will be no bitter feelings.'

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