Cavs History Book – Mark Price Trade

Mark PriceYesterday on Twitter, I got into a conversation with some bloggers for the Washington Wizards.  (TruthAboutIt and BulletsForever) As anyone who has ever surfed YouTube knows, one thing leads to another and you eventually end up in a completely foreign place from where you started.  Somehow talking about the Cavs eventually led to talking about how the Cavs inadvertently ruined the Bullets by trading an old, injury-prone Mark Price to them. I say that in jest of course, because someone in the Bullets obviously decided it was a good enough deal to pull the trigger.

That led me to wonder what, exactly, did the Bullets send to the Cavaliers for Mark Price?  After failing miserably finding the answer on Wikipedia and other places, I found it exactly where I should have looked in the first place.  It was in a post on BulletsForever that was exploring their own history books remembering Robert Pack.  Then I was linked to another post on TruthAboutIt that also goes into detail on it.  I found my answer .

The Bullets traded their number 1 draft pick in the 1996 draft, which should ring a big bell for Cavs fans.  In 1996 the Cavs had their own pick at number 20 and then gained the Bullets pick at number 12.  At number 20 the Cavaliers selected Big Zydrunas Ilgauskas.  That means with the 12th pick the Cavaliers selected none other than Vitaly Patapenko.  So that is the answer.  The Cavs traded Mark Price for Vitaly Patapenko.  But that obviously doesn’t tell the whole story.  The interesting question is which players the Cavs could have had with the 12th pick as we all know Patapenko didn’t work out that well until he was later traded to the Celtics for Andrew Declercq and a 1999 first round draft pick which became Andre Miller.

Had the Cavs not taken Patapenko they could have had anyone from this list of players who were picked between him and Ilgauskas at #20.  After Vitaly, #13 was Kobe Bryant, #14 was Peja Stojakovich, and #15 was Steve Nash.  If that list isn’t jaw-dropping enough then add in Jermaine O’Neal who was drafted out of high school at #17.

Then again, had the Cavs drafted any one of those players, they might not have had the “opportunity” to trade for Darius Miles and pull of John Lucas’ alleged tank job with Ricky Davis to be in a position to draft LeBron.  It is just funny how the history of teams develop.  Now we get to look back on our history, including the trade of once franchise cornerstone Mark Price as all ultimately leading to the arrival of LeBron it almost seems like a fond memory.  For the Bullets / Wizards fans who dealt with Mark Price’s injuries and are now in the seventh level of basketball hell with Gilbert Arenas’ problems, the history has a much different hue.

  • boogeyman

    Ah Mark Price those were the days…my favorite Cavalier pre-LeBron James of course. I can remember watching him at Georgia Tech back in his college days. As for the Bullets/Wizards from everything I’ve been reading that organization is in trouble whether it’s on or off the court. I mean literally the entire organization is in trouble. Lets hope their desperation grows and Antawn not Antwan Jamison gets paroled and finds his way to the Cavaliers. I don’t get what issues the Washington front office would have with the Cleveland front office the last time I checked it was the Wizards hoods (Stevenson and Arenas) who opened their big mouths only to have the Cavaliers shut ’em multiple times in the playoffs.

  • Amin

    haha i saw you guys talking about this online yesterday. fun to watch.

    also, there’s no way we could have kept Kobe, because when he was drafted by charlotte, he REFUSED to play for anyone but the lakers. so charlotte had to work out a trade with LA. we probably would have gotten anthony peeler or something.

  • Scott

    Vitaly lived in North Royalton, right down the street from my parents.

    /claim to fame

  • bill-legarm

    How about the Cavs’ run of really good point guards in the ’90s? Mark Price. Terrell Brandon. Andre Miller. I know I for one started taking good point guards for granted after a while. Then, of course, it took them forever to find a decent point guard once they drafted LeBron.

  • mitchum man

    I clearly remember a move potapenko put on Patrick ewing and joe tate declared “this guy will have good nights and bad, but when all the dust settles, this guy will be a star in this league!”also the lakers actually traded vlade divac, straight up for kobe.

  • Scott

    “lakers actually traded vlade divac, straight up for kobe.”

    Not sure whats worse. That or the fact that he had his number retired by the Kings.

  • MattC

    Great post, interesting read.

  • Robbie

    This was a great article because I’m thinking, the Cavaliers missed missed Oh… Oh!… No!!! Wait a second, yeah, then they wouldn’t have gotten LeBron. Once again I’m reminded not to believe that Cleveland is completely cursed.

  • Josh

    It’s always fun to play “What If”… did an article today asking What if the sixers drafted Kobe (local High School Player)#1 instead of Allen Iverson…

    crazy to think about how 1 decision can change the league for years!

  • EZ

    The orange and blue throwbacks the Cavs wear now should come with those little shorts.

  • Josh

    @ Robbie…as much as i love LBJ, Kobe + Z 13 years ago would have been amazing!

  • Kevin

    As always, the What ifs should only be allowed post Lebron since the Cavs may never have gotten him had things gone better. Unless, that what if had led to a ring before Lebron ever got here.

    I still consider the biggest NBA “what if” the Celtics drafting Len Bias right after they won a championship due to a traded pick only to have him OD a few days later. Still wow.

  • Mark_CHI

    Have we ever had the black jerseys with the blue paint splatter from the Andre Miller through Ricky Davis era as throwbacks yet? I think it’d be fun to see LeBron and Shaq in those uniforms, and it’d be nostalgic to see Ilgauskas throw it on one last time.

  • mike

    dont forget about brevin knight. he was a step down from brandon, price and miller, but still quite solid.

  • mgbode

    as long as we are talking Cavs run of good solid PGs…

    Kevin Johnson (short time, but he was ours first)
    Mark Price
    John Battle (best backup PG in the league)
    John Bagley (best 3rd string PG in the league…seriously, he wasn’t half bad)
    Steve Kerr
    Terrell Brandon
    Brevin Knight
    Bob Sura
    Ander Miller
    Earl Boykins (have to put the OH boy on the list)
    Eric Snow
    Mo Williams

  • EZ


    I bet Z still has his.

  • Robbie

    @Josh — I’ll be honest: I wasn’t a big basketball guy before LeBron arrived. To be fair, I’m a 100% until my DEATH Cleveland-anything fan, but I just never got into basketball, never even played a game except in gym class growing-up. It wasn’t a sport I was interested in. (I was in college from 94-99 as well.)

    After that long-winded speech, was Zydrunus even reliably healthy before 2004? Given that Kobe was drafted by the Cavaliers, would he have even played much with Z?

  • MS

    I’m surprised you didn’t look at for Mark Price transaction history. Their player pages are thorough and easy to read.

    Fact: Mark Price made $30,009,920 over his career in the NBA

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