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Mavs Lottery Pick Robert 'Tractor' Traylor Found Dead

Robert Traylor was found dead Wednesday in his apartment in Puerto Rico, where he was playing professionally. He last played in the NBA in 2005 after being drafted sixth overall and immediately traded by the Mavericks in 1998. He averaged 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in parts of seven NBA seasons. 


That trade, of course, was a prearranged deal where the Mavs picked for the Milwaukee Bucks and had the Bucks make their pick at No. 9, which happened to be one Dirk Nowitzki. As a part of that trade, Dallas also picked up the No. 19 pick in that draft, with which they drafted Pat Garrity for the Suns, and sent him along with Martin Muursepp, Bubba Wells and their next first round pick, which turned out to be Shawn Marion, for one Steve Nash


It was the best personnel move in the history of the franchise and set up their current run, in which they've won 50 games for 11 straight seasons and played in their first NBA Finals. Nowitzki will be the first Maverick to play his entire prime with the franchise and enter the Hall of Fame. 


Not everyone was on board with the move at the time. In fact, most weren't. Most preferred Paul Pierce, who went one pick later. Then there was Ticket host Mike Rhyner, who proclaimed boldly that the Mavericks would "rue the day" they dealt away the rights to Traylor for a white German teenager.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.