Veteran guard Danny Ainge was taken aback by his trade from the Boston Celtics to the Sacramento Kings, but vowed to help his new team however he could.
The Celtics swapped Ainge and center Brad Lohaus to the Kings Thursday for center Joe Kleine and forward Ed Pinckney."I have a lot of great memories of Boston," a subdued Ainge said. "I played for three great coaches - Bill Fitch, K.C. Jones, and Jimmy Rodgers. I just feel really fortunate that I was able to play here for eight years.
"I look forward to helping Sacramento the best that I can."
Ainge, who turns 30 in three weeks, played in 45 games for Boston this season. He averaged 16.1 points and 4.8 assists in 30 minutes per game. Ainge hit a career-high 45 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on Dec. 9.
The Brigham Young graduate, who also played baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays before being signed with the Celtics, is one of the best three-point shooters in the National Basketball Association, hitting 58 of 155 three-point atempts for a .374 average.
"The trade is favorable for the Kings and us. It will help both teams," said Rodgers.
Lohaus, 24, a second-year center from Iowa, is averaging 5.6 points and three rebounds a game.
Pinckney, 25, has averaged 12 points a game for the Kings. A first-round draft pick out of Villanova in 1985, the 6-foot-8 forward was acquired by Sacramento two years ago from the Phoenix Suns.
Kleine, 27, was the Kings' first round draft pick in 1985 when the team moved to Sacramento. The 7-foot Arkansas graduate is averaging 6.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per game.
Ainge said it would be tough to leave the Celtics and his friends on the team, especially the likes of forward Kevin McHale.
"I felt very emotional talking to Kevin . . . I think that he's the guy I'll miss most on the team," Ainge said. "(McHale) keeps all this stuff in perspective."
Kleine learned of the trade while his wife was giving birth to their first son, according to radio station KFBK in Sacramento.
Boston's three network television stations reported that Ainge and Lohaus were expected to arrive in Sacramento on Sunday, missing the Kings' games over the weekend against the Los Angeles Lakers and Seattle Supersonics.