Facebook Twitter



The early end of the NBA Finals means the 1989 expansion draft will be held Thursday instead of next week. The Jazz will lose one of three players - forward Jose Ortiz, guard Jim Farmer or guard Jim Les - to Minnesota or Orlando.

Orlando will have the first choice in the draft and will alternate with Minnesota until one player from each team (except '88-'89 expansion teams Miami and Charlotte) is taken. The only way an established team can keep from losing a player is making a pre-arranged trade of a draft choice or other considerations to the Magic or Timberwolves.Ortiz and Farmer, who both confirmed last week that they were left unprotected, are the most likely Jazzmen to be considered by Orlando and Minnesota. Both players were first-round draft choices in 1987, with Ortiz going to the Jazz at No. 15 and Farmer to Dallas at No. 20. Ortiz joined the Jazz last season after playing one year in Spain, while Farmer was waived by Dallas prior to his second NBA season and signed with the Jazz in January when Bobby Hansen was injured.

Ortiz or Farmer will join Jerome Whitehead (Dallas, 1980) and Rickey Green (Charlotte, 1988) as Jazzmen lost to expansion. The Jazz also traded Kelly Tripucka to Charlotte last June via the expansion draft, when the Hornets took Mike Brown off Chicago's roster and sent him to the Jazz.

The draft was scheduled for the first Thursday after the Finals ended. Detroit and the Lakers had to send their protected lists to the NBA office almost immediately after Game 4 of the series, and one of the curious aspects of the draft is that the Pistons will lose a player - who could be James Edwards or Vinnie Johnson - before the victory parade.

Orlando won a coin flip with Minnesota Monday and chose to pick ahead of the Timberwolves in the expansion draft rather than go ahead of them in the June 27 college draft.

- Kurt Kragthorpe