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View Full Version : Looks Like Vecsey is a Little Late to the Party



RSmits
01-13-2006, 10:27 AM
http://www.nypost.com/sports/60302.htm

January 13, 2006 -- CONTINGENT on the Pacers' doctors not being dissuaded by Corey Maggette's medical documents and Clippers' coach Mike Dunleavy not being discouraged by an Indiana-approved personal powwow with Ron Artest, the two swingmen, each presenting towering risks and soaring rewards, will swap uniforms shortly, sources reveal.

Maggette, averaging 68.5 games in six previous seasons, has missed all but 13 this season (his last action was Dec. 5) due to injuries. Currently his left foot is in a cast and may need surgery. If not, the 6-6 hard-body whose specialty is attaining the free throw line of life 10 times per and converting nine, figures to be out of action for another five weeks.

While no recovery date is set in stone, there's a full expectation that one day in the not so distant future Maggette will be back in force . . . at least on one end of the floor.

Artest, on the other hand, is a bluntly effectively instrument on both sides of the ball. When not serving NBA and team suspensions, that is. Both players have three years remaining on their near-clone contracts.

There's no argument which one is superior when both are physically and emotionally healthy. There's also no argument which one is pricklier to manage. What makes Dunleavy think he can control Artest any better, or any longer, than the Pacers, who tried everything imaginable to chill him out, curb his reckless behavior and change his abhorrent abnormality?

What can Dunleavy hope to learn from one conversation that'll convince him this is the appropriate move?

How can anyone conceivably prepare to incorporate Artest's combustible triple X-Factor personality into the scheme of things?

Early last month, the Clippers, 14-5 to start the season, harbored absolutely no intention of trading Maggette for Artest. Their first fishing expedition had Chris Wilcox's name on the hook, in addition to a No. 1 pick. Cuttino Mobley was the bait on their second foray.

A couple days before Christmas, the Pacers made it clear it was either Maggette or lose our phone number; it's believed Indiana was angling to re-route Maggette to the Hawks for Al Harrington, a slight possibility that seemingly no longer exists.

At that time, the undermanned Clippers (Quinton Ross also got hurt) were beginning to slip in the standings and were greatly tempted. But, again, despite the mounting pressure to turn things around, Dunleavy and GM Elgin Baylor resisted. That's how much they appreciate Maggette as a player and a person.

Funny how nine losses in 13 games as well as Maggette's updated, grim projection can reform your position. While the deeper Pacers are ready and willing to endure his lengthy healing process, the Clippers feel they've festered long enough.

Last summer, owner Donald Sterling took an uncustomary financial plunge to compete at the highest level this season, not two or three years from now. Sam Cassell (a relatively easy-to-swallow $6.1M) and Mobley ($42M for five) were recruited to enhance Elton Brand, Maggette, Chris Kaman, Ross, Wilcox and an incursion of un-ripened (notably Shaun Livingston) talent.

Minus Maggette and Ross (out four games) Dunleavy was forced to play numerous people out of position and the Clippers, once first in defensive field-goal percentage, tumbled to 10th.

Hence the (fatal?) attraction for both teams: The Pacers can afford to wait on Maggette, whereas the Clippers can't afford not to wait on Artest.

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Confirming a Washington report, the Grizzlies indeed are trying to acquire Chucky Atkins from the Wizards with a $4.4M trade exception. Contrary to that same report, the Knicks have expressed no desire to obtain the deadly long-distance shooter. Sources say the Grizzlies also are pressing the Celtics for Mark Blount. Boston wants Lorenzen Wright's expiring contract, not Brian Cardinal's four-year, $26.5 obligation past this season.

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If we're to believe Larry Brown has no interest in playing power personnel broker, how come he's forever calling friends throughout the league primarily assistant coaches/assistant GMs and suggesting trades? Despite the Knicks' unblemished January success, they're out there talking to everyone regarding just about everyone, as they should be.

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The secret's out: The way to beat the Suns is to get 'em into a 63-minute marathon. Prior to hosting the Warriors last night, Phoenix had won seven of its last nine games, the only two losses coming in triple overtime at New York and Denver, eight days apart.

Think that's incredible? Back in '57, UNC beat Wilt's Kansas squad for the NCAA title in three extra sessions. The day before that, UNC beat Michigan State in three OTs. That should be the definition of incredible.

Nevertheless, some people are inclined to think the Suns are overworked. After the loss to the Nuggets, they received concerned calls from those on Nike's assembly line.

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Can't remember the last time a team accumulated more offensive rebounds (Knicks had 28 Wednesday) than its opponents' (Dallas grabbed 27 in the OT loss) defensive rebounds. Permit me to angel-dust off the old axiom: "You're never as good as you look when you win or as bad as you look when you lose." Still, there's no denying the Knicks are the best 12-21 team in basketball.