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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

There's Nothing Free About This NBA Free Agent

May 30, 1996|THOMAS BONK

How good is Washington Bullet star Juwan Howard? Is he worth at least $90 million for seven years?

Wow, it didn't cost that much to build the White House, but that's probably where the bidding in Washington will begin for Howard, a 6-foot-9 power forward who becomes a free agent July 1. Whether the Bullets keep him is a matter of speculation, although there has been some choice verbiage offered by agent David Falk, who represents Howard, that doesn't seem too conciliatory.

"My last two experiences with the Bullets have been distasteful and highly unprofessional," Falk told the Washington Post. "They've been arguably dishonest."

Isn't negotiating fun?

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Absolutely: Pat O'Brien of CBS was the emcee at the awards luncheon of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Assn. last week and he recalled his first television interview with Michael Jordan, just before a Chicago Bulls' playoff game.

"I said, 'So, Michael, can one man defeat the Lakers in this series?' " O'Brien said. "To which Jordan replied, 'No, because we're playing the Celtics tonight, Pat.' "

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Trivia time: Who was Oscar De La Hoya's opponent in his first professional fight?

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Or pulling plows: Tony Kornheiser of the Washington Post on the Orlando Magic: "If Wayne Lukas was running that team, they'd be glue by now."

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Score it 6-4-3: Bud Geracie in the San Jose Mercury News: "The Expos' double-play combination was Grudzielanek to Stankiewicz to Rodriguez. Just like Tinker to Evers to Chance."

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Drive time: Pro basketball players may enjoy New York City for Broadway or San Francisco for its European feel or Chicago for Rush Street, but Adam Keefe of the Utah Jazz has his own reasons for liking Salt Lake City.

Said Keefe, "You can drive 10 minutes and be gone from everybody."

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Money news: Julio Cesar Chavez is getting at least $9 million for his June 7 fight with Oscar De La Hoya, who is getting at least $8.85 million. The only question is how much Uncle Sam gets.

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Honk if you're interested: Thirsty for news, or desperate for an angle, Steve Serby of the New York Post interviewed the Chicago Bulls' bus driver, who revealed that while in Orlando Jordan sat in the last row or the second-last row on the left side.

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Hoop swoop: Ever wonder why kids' sneakers cost so much? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a recent survey of boys 6-17 showed almost as many youngsters, 14.6 million, played basketball as those who played baseball, 8.6 million, and football, 8.1 million, combined.

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Trivia answer: Lamar Williams, Nov. 23, 1992 at the Forum. It was a first-round knockout.

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And finally: Ron Borges in Boxing 96 magazine quoted Don King about heavyweight--and we mean heavyweight--Buster Douglas, who ate his way out of the fight game: "Instead of defending his title, he fell on the ground and bayed at the moon."

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