Ex-NBA player Cureton hired as Mercury assistant

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PHOENIX (AP) -- Retired NBA player Earl Cureton has a new job coaching Phoenix Mercury players.

The Mercury hired the 12-year NBA veteran who played with seven teams as an assistant coach on Thursday.

Cureton is friends with coach Corey Gaines and worked with him previously at the ABA's Long Beach Jam.

He's also coached at WNBA teams in Charlotte and Detroit.

The 6-foot, 9-inch forward was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1979 and played on two NBA championship teams, the 76ers in 1982-83 and the Houston Rockets in 1993-94.

The Mercury's 2012 season begins on the road on May 20 against the defending champion Minnesota Lynx. The game will be nationally televised.