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08-22-2004, 12:51 PM
http://www.sacbee.com/content/sports/story/10470028p-11389362c.html

NBA Beat: From a distance, Pollard sees different Kings team

By Joe Davidson -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PDT Sunday, August 22, 2004

Scot Pollard worked his way over to his cart Monday to swap his sandals for his golf footwear.

Another pair of sandals.

Just then, a fan tapped Pollard, in Roseville for a golf fund-raiser with former Kings teammate Jon Barry, and blurted, "Hey, we miss you here in Sac."

"I miss being here, too," Pollard responded.

Now with the Indiana Pacers, Pollard hardly recognizes what he sees in the current Kings. Chemistry, uncertainty, a roster without leader Vlade Divac, a star in Chris Webber who has called out some teammates in the newspaper and another star in Peja Stojakovic who wants out.

Pollard, known for his slapstick schtick, turned to a serious tone about the team he never wanted to leave.

"First and foremost, there's no way the Kings are going to trade Peja," Pollard said. "No way. There isn't anyone on our roster that the Kings would want except maybe Jermaine O'Neal, and there's no way we're trading him."

Pollard isn't much of an NBA follower, not one to keep up on gossip, but he did read the question-and-answer session with Webber and The Bee's Martin McNeal published Aug. 1, in which the Kings forward said he wants to be the leader and wants players in his mold.

"Now the challenge is on Chris to do it, and I hope he does it," Pollard said. "When you're the highest-paid player, he should be the leader."



Barry's view
"You can't get equal value for Peja," Barry said. "But with the two best players on the team in Peja and Webber, if there's truly a rift ... I don't know. You don't want that. I'm sure they're going to try to work it out."

And on the loss of Divac.

"He was the glue. He will be sorely missed. All of his time there, he was the biggest piece to the puzzle. He connected with everyone."



More J.B.
Barry said he was close to re-signing with Denver, where he would again provide backcourt depth, shooting and a veteran presence. But his two young children and wife, Betsy, will remain in Atlanta, where he lives in the offseason. He doesn't want to yank his kids out of school.

"That part really stinks," he said. "You're away from your family for seven months."

Still, for a man entering his 13th NBA season, and saying that his best years were the three he spent with the Kings, he can hardly believe his good fortune.

"Not bad for a slow white guy," he said. "I've fooled 'em for this long."



More Pollard
He expects to be back in Indiana, hopeful that he's not again cemented to the bench. He talked of how he was a bargain banger off the bench for the Kings and now is deemed too pricey at $5.7 million this coming season and $6.2 million next. But he and his family enjoy Indianapolis.

"I love living there," he said. "I didn't think I'd like it, and I don't like when it gets cold, but it's a great city. Now if I can just play."



The D in Dallas
At long last, Don Nelson has a center. The Dallas coach didn't get Shaquille O'Neal after a furious push to acquire the Diesel earlier this summer, but should the trade actually be consummated with Golden State as expected, Erick Dampier presents a substantial upgrade from Danny Fortson, Scott Williams, Shawn Bradley and every other stiff Nelson ponied out there.

At least Dallas has salvaged what had been a lost summer of reshuffling, the residue of getting run out of the first round of the playoffs by the Kings.

By dealing the effective yet gimpy-kneed Eduardo Najera and journeyman Christian Laettner and two No. 1 picks, Dallas came away with the much better end of the deal, provided Dampier plays as motivated in a contract year as he did last year.

It will be an entirely different Dallas look when the Kings open the regular season at American Airlines Center. Veteran Jason Terry and rookie Devin Harris will man the point with Steve Nash now in Phoenix.

Jerry Stackhouse assumes Antawn Jamison's sixth-man role, with holdovers Michael Finley, Marquis Daniels and Josh Howard also expected to contribute.



Artest's view
Ron Artest would rather stay with the Pacers, but he said he would certainly boost the Kings in the unlikely scenario that he is traded for Stojakovic.

He told the Indianapolis Star, "You never know. (Stojakovic) is a good player. If they trade me for him, the Pacers would be good. The Kings would be real good, too. Real good. But I made a long-term commitment to the Indiana Pacers.

"Even when I came here, a lot of guys didn't have faith in me. They thought I was going to be a knucklehead."

Funny line. The Kings don't want any knuckleheads on their roster.



Payton's place
Gary Payton has gone public in his stance that he will not play for the Boston Celtics, despite having been traded to them by the Lakers. The veteran guard is upset that, after picking up his option to play a second season with the Lakers, he was shipped.

Payton said that had he known he was on the trading block, he would have signed a free-agent deal with his hometown Golden State Warriors. If the Warriors were interested, they surely would not have signed Derek Fisher to a $37 million deal.

In brief, Payton takes a massive pay cut to sign with the Lakers last summer, supplants Fisher as the starter, then watches Fisher sign his career contract as Payton fidgets in limbo. The Lakers, meanwhile, are awfully thin at point guard, with newcomer Chucky Atkins and Sasha Vujacic, the Lakers' first-round pick from Slovenia.



Goodwill tour
This is how Johnny Davis is getting to know his players, some new, some old. He's flying cross country for in-person hugs and chats.

The Orlando Magic coach flew to Houston to meet with Cuttino Mobley, then to Toronto to see Michael Bradley, then Los Angeles to talk to DeShawn Stevenson and Stacy Augmon. Davis went to Colorado to talk to Pat Garrity, to Washington, D.C., to meet with Steve Francis, and concluded by jetting to Philadelphia to meet with Jameer Nelson. Total mileage: 12,000.



And one
It's getting testy in Athens. When asked again why Team USA's coaching staff does not have a man with additional international experience, such as Mavericks executive Donnie Nelson, Larry Brown scoffed and told reporters there, "He has enough trouble coaching Dallas."

* It's always good reading when NBA player agents go at each other - through the press. On the subject of the Portland Trail Blazers' situation in trying to deal Shareef Abdur-Rahim, agent Bill Duffy told the Oregonian: "You have to be creative to trade a guy like Shareef, who at this point in his career is considered a mid-level player in terms of stature."

Abdur-Rahim, 27, appears to have plenty of game left, never mind his $14.6 million contract that will come off someone's books this coming season. His agent, Aaron Goodwin, and Duffy are former partners who no longer swap pleasantries.

Said Goodwin to the Portland Tribune: "I saw that chump's quote. Bill did that to take a dig at me. Either that or he was playing ignorant."

Lord Helmet
08-22-2004, 01:22 PM
Well that says Pollard thinks,let me change that it kind of sounded like he knows the that the Kings aren't going to trade Peja.And I hope he is right.Also Ron wants to stay and I don't blame him.He knows that we have a little better of a chance to get to the NBA Finals and win.

SoupIsGood
08-22-2004, 01:31 PM
I think it'd be pretty dumb to trade Ron.

Sollozzo
08-22-2004, 01:47 PM
I've always thought Pollard had a great attitude, and was a good guy. I just think getting him was an awful move.

Eindar
08-23-2004, 05:25 AM
Anyone else starting to think the Mavs could be VERY dangerous next year, if the Damp trade goes through and he actually plays hard? They don't need an outstanding point guard in that starting lineup, because Finley and Nowitzki are both decent ball-handlers. Starting line-up will probably look like this:

PG: Terry
SG: Finley
SF: Howard
PF: Nowitzki
C: Dampier

Only major deficiency of this team is defense. Dampier is the only guy in this lineup considered to be above average as a defender. Also, if you make Nowitzki the PF, he's gotta guard the weaker of the two, PF or C. That's still going to cause problems against any team that can put 2 decent players on the floor at once, such as Sacramento, with Miller and Webber, LA with Odom and Divac, or Utah with Boozer and Okur.

I think Dallas and Utah will be the dark horses this year, and the West really is WIDE OPEN next year. Sacramento, Utah, Dallas, Houston, SA, and even LA will be competitive. Compared to the East where it's going to be either Indiana or Detroit winning the East, with Miami likely in 3rd.

Hicks
08-23-2004, 08:29 AM
If the major deficiency of a team is defense, it can't be scary methinks. ;)

DisplacedKnick
08-23-2004, 09:30 AM
In the end Dallas will be the same team they've always been - huge firepower, no defense. They'll win 55 games and be out of the playoffs by the second rd.

NBA games will have to be called entirely different in the playoffs for me to believe anything else will happen.

Shade
08-23-2004, 12:06 PM
Anyone else starting to think the Mavs could be VERY dangerous next year, if the Damp trade goes through and he actually plays hard? They don't need an outstanding point guard in that starting lineup, because Finley and Nowitzki are both decent ball-handlers. Starting line-up will probably look like this:

PG: Terry
SG: Finley
SF: Howard
PF: Nowitzki
C: Dampier

Only major deficiency of this team is defense. Dampier is the only guy in this lineup considered to be above average as a defender. Also, if you make Nowitzki the PF, he's gotta guard the weaker of the two, PF or C. That's still going to cause problems against any team that can put 2 decent players on the floor at once, such as Sacramento, with Miller and Webber, LA with Odom and Divac, or Utah with Boozer and Okur.

I think Dallas and Utah will be the dark horses this year, and the West really is WIDE OPEN next year. Sacramento, Utah, Dallas, Houston, SA, and even LA will be competitive. Compared to the East where it's going to be either Indiana or Detroit winning the East, with Miami likely in 3rd.

That team is strictly WORSE than last year's team. Only Damp could be considered an upgrade, and not enough of one to offset the downgrades to the roster (Terry, Howard, and Stack).