Harrington dismisses rumors
By Mark Montieth
January 26, 2004
WASHINGTON -- Al Harrington heard about last week's reports that he wants to be traded to New York, and he has a simple response.
"It was nonsense," he said.
A rumor out of New York made its way through the typical rounds of television, the Internet and talk radio that the Indiana Pacers forward wants a trade to the Knicks, where former Pacers coach Isiah Thomas is performing a makeover as team president.
The theory was that Harrington is frustrated coming off the Pacers' bench and wants a bigger role.
"I don't know where it came from," Harrington said following the Pacers' loss at Washington on Saturday. "I'm a Pacer right now. I'm happy to be a Pacer. Hopefully I'll help get this team to the Finals this year."
Harrington has acknowledged he wants to be a starter but also has maintained he's willing to continue playing off the bench. He ranks third on the team in scoring (12.8 ppg.) and minutes (31).
Harrington has met with Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh this season to discuss his role. But asked if he has requested a trade, he had an immediate and blunt reply.
"Never," he said.
So what is Harrington's state of mind?
"I'm happy," he said. "I'm happy that we're winning. There's no better feeling than that."
Harrington's real concern is his bruised right knee, which has troubled him since he collided with Jermaine O'Neal in a one-on-one game two days before training camp started.
He sat out Jan. 14 against Atlanta to rest it but has continued to be erratic. He hit 2-of-9 shots against Detroit on Tuesday and 3-of-10 in Friday's loss to Houston, but bounced back with one of his more energetic games of the season against the Wizards. He finished with a team-high 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
He gave credit to a treatment he received earlier in the day from orthopedist Dan Dyrek, who works with injured Pacers.
"(Friday) was probably the worst it ever felt," Harrington said. "It's funny; 16 hours later it feels like this."
Chinese fan makes trip
Sitting in his ninth-row seat at the MCI Center on Saturday, the Pacers' No. 1 fan in China was impressed.
"This is amazing," Holick Lee said.
Lee, 20, is on a 14-day vacation that will take him throughout the U.S. He took a train from New York to Washington on Saturday to catch the Pacers' game against the Wizards, purchasing a ticket as soon as the box office opened.
He became a fan during the Pacers' playoff runs of the mid-1990s. Lee, a college student, listens to nearly every radio broadcast via the Internet. There is a 13-hour time difference between his home in Guangzhou -- the third-largest city in China -- and Indianapolis, so most games start early in the morning for him.
Is Holick Lee one of our members? Hicks? Anybody?