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The Rise and Fall
Phil Taylor
April 21, 1997
Hot Rod and Hurley finish strong, Joe Smith's weak second-year effort, A trade that helped neither team
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April 21, 1997

The Rise And Fall

Hot Rod and Hurley finish strong, Joe Smith's weak second-year effort, A trade that helped neither team

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In the swap the Mavs sent forward-center Chris Gatling, guards Sam Cassell and Jim Jackson, center Eric Montross and swingman George McCloud (whom the Nets then dealt to the Lakers) to New Jersey for center Shawn Bradley, guards Robert Pack and Khalid Reeves, and forward Ed O'Bannon. The key player for Dallas, the 7'6" Bradley, was fairly impressive immediately after he joined the Mavs, but lately his play—and his playing time—has declined sharply. Coach Jim Cleamons, unhappy with Bradley's penchant for silly fouls and his lack of discipline on defense, has kept him on the bench for long second-half stretches. After Bradley complained, albeit mildly, to the media, he and Cleamons met and worked out their differences, but that doesn't change the fact that Bradley is exhibiting the same pattern—a fast start followed by erratic play—that caused first the 76ers and then the Nets to give up on him.

New Jersey wasn't exactly pleased to hear Gatling, an Elizabeth, N.J., native, say last week that he didn't want to return to the Nets next season because he doesn't like playing so close to home. "He told me when he came here, 'Coach, it's going to be hard for me to play [in New Jersey],' " says John Calipari, the Nets' coach. Calipari may not be overly concerned, because Gatling has four years left on his five-year, $22 million contract, but considering the Nets' history with players who didn't want to be in New Jersey—Derrick Coleman and Kenny Anderson among them—the last thing they need is another unhappy camper.

Line of the Week
Actually, they are the lines of the week: 76ers point guard Allen Iverson, April 7 against the Bulls, 44 points; April 9 against the Hawks, 40 points; April 11 against the Bucks, 44 points; April 12 against the Cavaliers, 50 points. Iverson became the first rookie in league history to score 40 or more points in four consecutive games, and though Philadelphia lost all four, Iverson also may have swayed some of the Rookie of the Year voters to his side with all that scoring.

Around the Rim

Frank Layden, the formerly rotund president of the Jazz, has reduced his weight from 330 pounds to 185 in the past year. Layden revamped his lifestyle after he saw 328-pound baseball umpire John McSherry collapse and the on Opening Day last year. "I was on a diet before he hit the ground," Layden says. Layden now walks several miles each day, doesn't eat meat and has decided that "pizza and Bud Lite are no longer a part of my future." His waistline has gone from 62 inches to 40....

All of Portland's regulars have been pulled from the starting lineup at least once this season for missing a practice or a shootaround. The unofficial count: guard Isaiah Rider, four times; forwards Rasheed Wallace and Cliff Robinson, twice each; and guard Kenny Anderson and center Arvydas Sabonis, once each.

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