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Suns Might Find Themselves Playing a Doughnut Offense

October 19, 1994|MARK HEISLER

PHOENIX — They have two All-Stars at forward, two at guard, two more coming off the bench.

But at center?

The Suns have Joe Kleine, who was their third-string center last season, and Danny Schayes, who was so far down the Laker depth chart he didn't have a number.

The Suns traded Mark West to open the salary slot for Danny Manning. They had hoped to sign Robert Parish for $850,000, but the Charlotte Hornets paid $2 million for the 41-year-old former Boston Celtic.

The Suns could have kept Oliver Miller, but when he received a $2.5-million-a-season offer from Detroit, they told him to take a hike. Miller had been unable to crack the 275-pound barrier and had problems off the floor, including an arrest during a wild party after the Game 7 loss to Houston last spring.

When Miller's agent telephoned last summer, Sun boss Jerry Colangelo wouldn't even take the calls.

Says Colangelo: "When you look at centers around the league, once you get beyond (Hakeem) Olajuwon and Shaq (O'Neal), and (Patrick) Ewing and (David) Robinson, you've got another little slot with (Alonzo) Mourning and (Rik) Smits and (Dikembe) Mutombo and then the rest, period.

"Would I like to have one of those centers I mentioned? Of course I would. My attitude is, you do the best you can and the most you can to get things done. I didn't have a chance to get a center and at the end of the year, Paul (Westphal, the Suns' coach) wasn't using any of them."

Westphal started Kleine in the Suns' first exhibition, but the 6-foot-8 A.C. Green, who guarded Olajuwon during last spring's playoff series, will probably play more center than Kleine and Schayes put together.

Green is no shot-blocker, but he can hold the fort until the double-team arrives.

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