Utterly disgusted with his team's first-round loss to the Toronto Raptors, Latrell Sprewell called Saturday for major changes in the makeup of the New York Knicks.
"Something has to be done as far as getting us some size and toughness. We've got a bunch of guards on this team," Sprewell said. "Personal feelings have to be set aside. If you can't lay it on the line, then you don't need to be here."
The Knicks held a team meeting and cleaned out their lockers in Purchase, N.Y., after being knocked out in the first round for the first time since 1991.
Sprewell met privately with Coach Jeff Van Gundy to vent his frustrations about the shortcomings of his teammates, although he refused to single anyone out for criticism when he met with reporters.
"It's not about naming names," Sprewell said. "I think we definitely need guys who can help us inside. They were bigger and stronger. They beat us up."
Indeed, the Knicks were overpowered inside as Antonio Davis, Jerome Williams and Charles Oakley kept the Knicks off the offensive boards and scored with relative ease.
Marcus Camby became a non-factor in the series after Game 1, in part because of a hostage standoff at his mother's home.
Larry Johnson did not play in the series because of a chronically sore back, although his backup, Kurt Thomas, emerged as a steady contributor and the team's best low-post scorer.
The Knicks needed someone like Patrick Ewing, a big man who can rebound consistently and draw double-teams in the low post to open space for the shooters. Ewing was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics before the season.
"We could have used him in this series," Sprewell said.
Another target of Sprewell's criticism may have been Allan Houston, who was outplayed by the Raptors' Alvin Williams down the stretch of Game 5.
All eyes should be on Allen Iverson and Vince Carter when the Philadelphia 76ers play the Raptors in Game 1 of their best-of-seven playoff series today at Philadelphia.
Instead, the focus could be on Oakley and Tyrone Hill, who have been feuding all season. Hill, the 76ers' starting power forward, reportedly owes Oakley money from a card game last summer.
Oakley was suspended for one game without pay and fined $10,000 last month for confronting Hill and hitting him in the head with a basketball after a morning shootaround at Toronto before the 76ers played the Raptors on April 3. Before an exhibition game, Oakley slapped Hill and neither was allowed to play.
"I'm here to play basketball," Oakley told reporters Saturday. "The only thing on my mind is playing basketball. You guys are making a big deal out of this."
The 76ers' Dikembe Mutombo, who has donated millions of dollars in hopes of building a hospital in his native Congo, won the NBA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.
Mutombo has created a foundation in his name to assist humanitarian work in his homeland. He is trying to build a 300-bed hospital in the capital of Kinshasa. Mutombo has donated $3 million to start construction of the $44-million facility and given $250,000 in medical supplies and 40 beds to existing hospitals.