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Harris Not Kind of Guy to Gloat About Troubles

April 28, 1999|TIM KAWAKAMI

In an interview to be aired today on ESPN, Del Harris spoke publicly for the first time since his Feb. 24 firing as Laker coach, saying that he takes no pleasure in watching his former team struggle under Kurt Rambis.

"I do feel sorry as I watch the guys I care for suffering--my assistant coaches, or the players I spent time with," Harris told interviewer Gary Miller.

"People may think that I take delight in them losing--I don't.

"It would be like for you Gary, taking four-plus years building a bridge and then they took you off the project. You wouldn't hope that the first trucker who goes over the bridge falls in the river because you have something invested in that."

Harris also said that, last summer, once Laker management refused to extend his contract beyond the 1998-99 season--"hung me out to dry," Harris said--he decided that this season would be his last in L.A. if he won a championship.

"I expected to finish this particular project and then move on since they didn't extend me," Harris said. "They would have been rid of me anyway. . . .

"I was totally committed to this year. I was also feeling that since they had failed to recognize what we did over the last four years, going from a lottery team to a having a tremendous year last season go unrecognized and unappreciated, that it was best for me to put in my five years, do the best I could, and move on."

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