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Ailing Lakers still don't have Rodman
Posted: Thursday February 18, 1999 11:21 PM
"We don't have any," spokesman John Black said when asked if there was an update on the Rodman situation.
When asked if anyone connected with the organization has spoken with Rodman, Black replied, "Not other than [team owner] Jerry Buss, no."
Black did say Buss and Rodman met Wednesday night, but wouldn't say where or how long the meeting lasted.
Contrary to media reports, Black said, vice president of basketball operations Jerry West had not had "any direct contact" with Rodman as of the end of the business day Thursday.
When asked if the Lakers planned to deliver an ultimatum to the eccentric 37-year-old seven-time NBA rebounding champion, Black said, "Not at this point, we're not going to."
So, the saga continues. The Lakers first expressed an interest in Rodman more than two weeks ago, and it was reported last weekend he had decided to play for them. However, no contract had been signed as of Thursday afternoon.
West was unavailable for comment, but told ESPN he was "furious with the situation."
The Lakers can only sign Rodman for the veterans' minimum of $1 million, prorated to $600,000 for the shortened season and diminishing further with each game he misses.
Coach Del Harris told his players earlier this week he would prefer they would no longer answer questions concerning Rodman due to the potential distraction.
"I think that our guys have really been good with the media about giving their opinions," Harris said after Thursday's practice at Los Angeles Southwest College.
The questions were still asked, though.
"It doesn't bother me," veteran point guard Derek Harper said when asked if he was upset that the Rodman situation remained unresolved. "I have a certain focus I'm going to keep. Right now, that focus is San Antonio."
The Lakers (5-3) entertain the Spurs (4-4) on Friday night.
"I'm not going to lose any sleep over it one way or another," Harper said. "When Worm gets here, if he gets here, he's a priority with this team. He's not a Laker. He's not signed with anybody. He can do what he wants to do. It's his life."
Among the six players who missed practice was Robert Horry, who has had to sit out three games due to an irregular heartbeat, and will almost surely miss at least four more.
"Robert is feeling better," Black said Thursday night. "Test results done today did not indicate any cause. The doctors still believe this is being caused by the recent viral infection he had."
Black said the 28-year-old Horry, who was still having extra heartbeats, won't play against San Antonio, and won't accompany the Lakers on a three-day, three-game road trip that begins Sunday in Seattle.
"He'll be re-evaluated Monday," Black said. "They want him to go through a workout Monday wearing a monitor."
Other players missing practice Thursday were Travis Knight, who has a sprained ankle but said he expected to play against San Antonio; Rick Fox, who has a sore right foot; and rookies Sam Jacobson, Tyronn Lue and Ruben Patterson.
Jacobson fractured his left ring finger in pregame warmups before the Lakers beat Dallas 101-88 on Wednesday night and will be placed on the injured list, Black said. Lue has been experiencing back spasms, and Patterson has an upper respiratory infection.
"I thought we still had a productive practice with just eight people," Harris said. "You still have to have a productive practice. The guys worked hard. It was not a wasted day."
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