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As the NBA turns (cont.)

Posted: Thursday December 1, 2005 11:50AM; Updated: Thursday December 1, 2005 11:50AM
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Disappointed as they are with Patterson, the Blazers don't exactly appear in a hurry to unload him; rumors of his imminent departure have abounded for the past three years. Patterson, for his part, tried to keep the Blazers' feet to the fire by telling the Oregonian, "I deserve to play 25-plus minutes. But if they want to play me 12 minutes, then they can just put me on the inactive list."

McMillan seems unmoved. "He's still a Blazer," McMillan said. "And I still have to find a way to use him." Uhh, just not at the moment.

KG, J-O sound off

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In terms of company men, you'd be hard-pressed to find two better than Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O'Neal. But frustration has a way of testing even the strongest of loyalties.

O'Neal was the first to crack, skewering his team for the lack of effort in a 122-90 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Nov. 16. "A championship team cannot get beat the way we got beat," O'Neal said in the wake of what still ranks as the team's worst loss of the season. "Hell, we shouldn't even get paid for this game."

A day later, Garnett was on TNT, popping off about management (though the interview was taped a day earlier), while saving his choicest words for team vice president Kevin McHale, who snatched the coaching reins from Flip Saunders after sacking him midway through last season. To hear Garnett tell it, McHale might not have known what he was getting into. "Kevin McHale wanted in his heart to coach," Garnett told TNT's Cheryl Miller, "but he didn't want the responsibility of being a coach." Part of that, as Garnett rightly points out, is managing egos -- egos that McHale himself imported in the likes of Sam Cassell (who was traded to the Clippers in August) and Latrell Sprewell (unsigned in free agency), who paid big dividends early on -- as Minnesota advanced to its first conference final in 2004 -- only to bottom out a year later.

Garnett's perceived insubordination (he wasn't reprimanded for his comments, nor has he since rescinded them) had many wondering aloud whether it might be in the Wolves' best interest to seek a trade for the eight-time All-Star. Some even suggested Minnesota should deal for the Pacers' O'Neal. But the Timberwolves don't appear to have imminent plans to move their franchise player. "I have no plans on trading him -- at least through this contract," T'wolves owner Glen Taylor told the Star Tribune. "I'd like to say through life. But I'll just say through this contract, because then there are things you can't always control."

What's eating Larry Brown?

First, it was Eddy Curry's lethargy in the post. Then, it was Marbury's ineffectiveness at the point. Now all seems quiet in Gotham. The rookies are playing well, none better than Channing Frye, who is enjoying the kind of year (13.8 ppg, 51.2 field-goal percentage through Sunday) I envisioned in March that he might have. Often cited as a soft rebounder during his college days at Arizona, Frye has averaged 8.6 boards per game to lead the Knicks. Might Larry, historically hesitant to award playing time to newbies, be thinking about moving Frye up the depth chart? "I'm a little nervous about that," Brown told the New York Times on Tuesday. "But in terms of getting close to playing starting minutes, he's there."

Coming to a theatre in ...

Chicago: While back home in the City of Wind over Thanksgiving, I had a feeling that the hometown Bulls and Tim Thomas might be headed for a split. Not long after I returned to my (working) home in New York, those fears were confirmed. Thomas has been a silent partner on the team since he came in the five-player deal for Curry in October. (Bulls coach Scott Skiles said weeks ago that Thomas doesn't work as hard as others in practice.) Operations chief John Paxson officially placed the eight-year vet on the inactive list Monday and will likely look to deal the disgruntled forward, who has been quietly stewing about his minutes since arriving in town.


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