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THE NBA / MARK HEISLER

You Never Know What They Think--Until Now

December 29, 1996|Mark Heisler

It's that time when our zany cast of characters looks ahead and vows to get it right next year:

Michael Jordan--Let's see, 30 days have September, April, June and November, all the rest have 31. . . . OK, 173 more days of Dennis, max.

Phil Jackson and Scottie Pippen--Yeah and 173 days of Krause and Reinsdorf and. . . .

Jerry Reinsdorf--Next dynasty, I'm definitely getting quieter guys.

Jerry Krause--Like Albert Belle, boss?

Reinsdorf--Exactamundo.

Dennis Rodman--I'm going to be more one of the boys. You want this garter belt, bro?

Penny Hardaway--Where's Shaq when I need him?

Brian Hill--Next time I get a super center, he wants the ball, he gets the ball.

Rich DeVos--Next time I get a super center, he wants to coach, he gets to coach.

Shaquille O'Neal--Where's Penny when I need him?

Kobe Bryant--Where's that Duke brochure?

Brian Williams--No, honest, next week I'm really coming back.

Fred Slaughter--If I were into resolutions, I might think about getting a client signed before the season once in my career, but I'm still not talking to you running dog lackeys of the imperialist Clipper press.

Stanley Roberts--I'm definitely coming in in shape next season, before my career slips away from me.

Kevin Duckworth--Ditto.

Benoit Benjamin--That goes double for me.

Moby Dick--I hear you.

Bill Fitch--No, really, they say anguish is the latest thing in cardiac rehab.

Donald Sterling--Hello, Anaheim? Where were we when I got that call on my other line last spring?

M.L. Carr--What does Red say to resolve a situation like this?

Red Auerbach--Drop back 15 and punt. Fire the coach. Oh, you're the coach?

Dave Checketts--No new resolutions. We're right on schedule. This summer we'll re-sign Patrick for $10 million a year and jack up the courtside seats to $1,500 a game. We'll fire Van Gundy next February, hire Rick Pitino back and hike courtside to $2,000 in '98. . . .

Patrick Ewing--If they think I'm finishing my career playing in front of these ingrates, they'd better think again . . . $10 million a year? OK.

Jeff Van Gundy--Hello, Riles? Keep that seat next to you warm. I'll be down with some great Dave stories.

Allan Houston--Hello, Detroit?

Larry Johnson--Hello, Charlotte?

David Falk--Next summer I'll take Mike to the Knicks and Patrick to the . . . Bulls! In '98, how about Barkley to the . . . um . . . Lakers? In '99 I'll move Iverson to the Knicks and sign Mike with Converse. In 2001, we'll have the strike and see who's running this league. Now, when they do the movie of me, I don't think anyone can play me better than me.

Jason Kidd--I've learned a lot about this league in three seasons. On my next team, when I get a date with a singing star, I'm not telling the guys until afterward.

Jim Jackson--I don't understand why he was so upset. I had Toni's CD first.

Jim Cleamons--Hello, Phil?

Cotton Fitzsimmons--Next time Jerry Colangelo asks if I could do him a favor, I'm going to ask what it is.

Dick Motta--Next time Bernie Bickerstaff asks if I could do him a favor, I'm going to ask what it is.

Charles Barkley--Two games off was nice. I think I'll bump some ref about Feb. 7 and go golfing in Phoenix over All-Star break. Cleveland in February? Have a good time, boys.

George Karl--I feel great about next year because our young players finally understand and are assuming leadership roles. And the UCLA job might come open and Dean Smith might retire and . . .

Chris Webber, Jalen Rose and Juwan Howard--Hello, Michigan?

John Calipari--Hello, UMass?

P.J. Carlesimo--Hello, Seton Hall?

Del Harris--Hello, Earlham?

Larry Brown--Hello, Nuggets, UCLA, Nets, Kansas, UCLA, Spurs and Clippers?

David Stern--Can you believe I'm merchandising this? They ought to take Jerry West's profile off the logo and put mine on it.

NAMES AND NUMBERS

Now he's the Arizona Kidd: The Dallas-Phoenix swap was a stunner, giving the Suns a once-in-a-generation point guard, whatever his struggles, such as last week's "sore neck" that coincided with agent Aaron Goodwin's announcement that Cleamons' slow-down offense was depressing his client. "Come on, [Kidd] isn't missing layups because he's all of a sudden a stiff," Goodwin said. "It's because his heart just isn't in it. His game is running and they've got him walking."

Meanwhile, in Dallas, the five-year rebuilding program just became a 10-year rebuilding program: The Mavericks get Michael Finley, who plays the same positions as Jim Jackson, Jamal Mashburn and George McCloud; A.C. Green, who's 33 and has three more years--at $13 million--left on his contract, which is why the Suns were desperate to dump him, and Sam Cassell, a shoot-first point guard who'll be a free agent next summer, meaning the Mavericks will have to pay him a king's ransom.

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