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ALL-STAR NOTES

Suns expected to fire Terry Porter as coach

Two reports say he will be replaced Monday by assistant Alvin Gentry.

February 16, 2009|K.C. Johnson

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns play at home Tuesday, the NBA trading deadline is Thursday, and even the roar that greeted Amare Stoudemire during Sunday's player introductions couldn't drown out the rumors surrounding the four-time All-Star.

"If my last home game is the All-Star starter here, that will be a great way to go out," Stoudemire said. "I turn every negative into a positive."

The Arizona Republic and Associated Press reported Sunday that Suns assistant Alvin Gentry would replace Terry Porter as coach at today's practice, and the growing sense now is that Phoenix will keep Stoudemire.

The Chicago Bulls, meanwhile, continue to debate the pros and cons of Stoudemire. According to league sources, they also are monitoring the Clippers' situation to see whether Chris Kaman or Marcus Camby can be pried loose.

Two league executives said Sunday it appears less likely Stoudemire will become a Bull, if he is traded at all.

Rosy future

Playing in Friday's Rookie Challenge and winning Saturday's Skills Challenge merely whetted the appetite for Chicago's Derrick Rose to play in the real All-Star game, which he stayed to watch.

"This whole experience was amazing," Rose said. "I never thought that I would be playing in All-Star weekend. The season isn't over yet, but this summer I'll work harder, work on my weaknesses and just go hard throughout the whole summer because playing in the big game is real important to me."

Full plate

Phil Jackson of the Lakers served as head coach for his fourth All-Star game and called Magic Johnson's dominant 1992 game, played three months after Johnson's shocking announcement he had HIV, one of his favorite memories. Another?

"MJ pulling the pants off one of the players being introduced," said Jackson, referring to Michael Jordan. "That was the best."

Jackson also said he taped the Bulls' recent tribute to Johnny "Red" Kerr and watched it after the Lakers played Oklahoma City the same night.

"It was such a terrific tribute to Red," Jackson said. "The big deal with Red is he's such a Chicago guy. He loves Chicago. He was great on the TV. But it wasn't just basketball. He played softball in the city. He had a bar in town. He was Mr. Downtown Chicago guy that everybody knew."

Huh?

Question of the weekend had to go to the one Detroit Pistons guard Allen Iverson fielded: Do you think you're going to heaven or hell? Iverson actually answered.

"I have done a lot of good things in my life, and I have done a lot of bad things in my life," Iverson said. "I don't know. I hope the good things I have done outweigh it because I sure don't want to go to hell."

My name is . . .

Even with Rashard Lewis making his second All-Star appearance, the Orlando Magic forward said a lack of being viewed among the league's elite drives him.

"I'm definitely happy to be here, but I obviously still fly under the radar a little bit," he said. "It kind of keeps the fire burning and keeps me playing at a high level because there is always something you have to prove."

Lewis said playing in the game never gets old.

"It's a good feeling just to be in the locker room with the best players in the NBA," he said.

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kcjohnson@tribune.com

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