A battle of wills is surfacing between Bulls general manager Jerry Krause, who drafted Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler, and coach Tim Floyd, who has resisted playing them. Insiders think Floyd is smoldering about trading Elton Brand for Chandler, which bought Krause time at the cost of giving Floyd a chance to compete this season.
"I may be wrong, but I don't see how you can be better off trading Elton Brand for a high-school kid," ESPN's Dick Vitale told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Brand's a proven player. That's the part that blows my mind. Here you have one of the nicest kids you ever want to meet, a guy that's just 23 and averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds, and you trade him for an unproven player."
Despite the Bulls' losing record and all the times they've been blown out, Curry is averaging 12 minutes, Chandler 11.
This week's roundup of the carnage left strewn in the Lakers' wake:
Milwaukee's George Karl, who saw a 15-point loss in the Staples Center start the Bucks on a skid in which they were wiped out in five consecutive games, one at home by the Knicks:
"I think the zone maybe bothered (Shaquille O'Neal) a little bit, but I'm not going to be cocky about it. I think the man is the most powerful, dominating basketball player in the game. He's so hard to cover and plan for. OK, we controlled him, but we didn't have a chance of winning a game. You've got to do a lot of good things to beat the Lakers, especially when they were playing with the referees on their side like they were."
Seattle's Brent Barry, after O'Neal was ejected in the first quarter and the Lakers beat the SuperSonics by 15 on their home court: "For the people who came out here tonight, I feel sorry for them. It was a joke. They paid to see Shaq kick our (rear ends) and we got our (rear ends) kicked by their bench. It was a joke."
In case you hadn't noticed, it's still a business: An Alamodome crowd of 35,052 who bought tickets to see Michael Jordan, saw him sitting on the bench in a suit. Unlike the Pistons, who said they'd issue refunds when Jordan said he'd sit out an exhibition game he ultimately played the Spurs kept all the proceeds.
The biggest surprise, in the family, anyway, is that Utah second-round pick Jarron Collins starts while his twin, New Jersey first-rounder Jason Collins, comes off the bench. Showing he's not only precocious, but unintimidated, Jarron lost 20 pounds before camp and telephoned Karl Malone for advice. "He called me, I don't know how many times, wanting to know what he could do to get in shape," Malone said. "He'd say, 'Karl, this is Jarron, your new teammate. From Stanford.' I'd say, 'I know. I know.' "
Not that they're tiring of hearing that they donated a savior to the Nets, but the Suns are subtly reminding people that Jason Kidd wasn't great at finishing drives to the basket. As Phoenix coach Scott Skiles noted of Stephon Marbury, "He can get to the hole at will. And he will finish at the basket."
Before playing the Nets, Marbury told the Mesa Tribune he's actually happy to see his former teammates doing well. "Really?" asked the reporter. "To be really honest," Marbury replied, "don't put down 'happy.' I really don't care." In the wake of much Marbury-bashing in the New York press, the Nets and the old, non-finishing Kidd routed the Suns, 106-87. ...
Net forward Kenyon Martin, on the team's turnaround: "Trust me. It's 360 from where it was."