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Coast To Coast

February 17, 2008|Mark Heisler

Here's what we know after two weeks of whirlwind activity that's still whirling:

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak has wrapped up executive of the year.

Kupchak not only stole Pau Gasol, he wiped out half the West elite as teams winning 60 games a season tried to reconfigure on the fly to deal with the Lakers.

I want to thank Dr. Buss, Mr. Cuban . . .

Of course, compared to the Dallas deal for Jason Kidd -- now on life support -- the Suns' gamble on Shaquille O'Neal was a coup.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who didn't like the price, now has a train wreck on his hands, leaving him with his old, sagging team and the Nets with the unhappy Kidd.

You've heard the best deals are the ones that help both teams?

This wasn't one.

Anatomy of a train wreck

Devean George says blocking the Kidd trade, which would have sent him to the Nets, is a "no-brainer."

It's true. George must have had his brain removed if he thinks that with or without "early Bird" rights, there's much money out there for someone averaging 3.8 points and shooting 37%.

Then there was teammate Jerry Stackhouse, set to go to New Jersey, which would buy him out so he could re-sign with the Mavericks.

This was legal. What wasn't legal was prearranging it, which NBA lawyers call "cap circumvention."

And how did they learn about it? Stackhouse blabbed it to the first wire service reporter who called.

New Jersey President Rod Thorn insists there was no side deal. Right now there's not even a main deal.

Meanwhile, in Cleveland

For LeBron James, who said the Cavaliers would win a title with Kidd ("It's as simple as that"), the good news is, at least no one else has gotten Kidd . . . yet.

"No, I'm not disappointed," James said when it looked as if Kidd were going to Dallas. "Can't you see it in my face?"

Actually, no one could see anything in his face. Brian Windhorst, writing for ESPN.com, said James stared into space "as if someone had told him his dog died."

Not that James is upset but when Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets came in and took a 26-point lead after three periods, LeBron sat at the end of the bench, refusing to join the huddle.

Underrated party town

The Sacramento Kings, considering breaking up their team, may have to look at their dancers, too, after several appeared in racy photos on an Internet site.

Kings Vice President Mitch Germann wouldn't say if the women would be reprimanded, e-mailing the Sacramento Bee, "We handle all Team Member personnel issues internally."

". . . Why is anyone surprised?" said a post on the Sactown Royalty blog. "Did people think they wore floor length dresses and went to the 6:00 AM mass on Sunday?"

I knew Mike and Scottie

Heat Coach Pat Riley, trying to pump oxygen back into his franchise, compared Dwyane Wade and newly acquired Shawn Marion to Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

Noted Riley's longtime rival, Phil Jackson, who coached Jordan and Pippen:

"Pippen was a ballhandler, a guy that could play the guard role and he and Jordan could [exchange] that position. That's not going to be Shawn Marion."

-- Mark Heisler

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