One of East Lansings most beloved sports heroes will no longer be just a stones throw away from the MSU campus.
The Detroit Pistons traded point guard Mateen Cleaves, who guided MSU to a NCAA mens basketball national championship in 2000, to the Sacramento Kings on Friday.
For Cleaves, Detroit acquired swingman Jon Barry, 32, and a first-round draft pick that cannot come before 2004.
Ironically, the deal consummated on Cleaves 24th birthday, a year and a day after he signed a 3-year, $4.1 million contract with Detroit.
Cleaves, a Flint native, played only one season for his childhood favorite Pistons, but his reputation as a local kid with a big heart and an incredible work ethic instantly made him one of the Pistons most popular players.
Thats why many in the area were shocked to hear the news that Cleaves was being shipped to the West Coast after only one year in Motown.
Its an obstacle for him, said former Spartan cager and 11-year NBA veteran Steve Smith, who was traded to the San Antonio Spurs this summer.