Here are some of the league's hottest feuds, rated according to three temperature ranges.
Phil Jackson vs. Jerry Krause. The heat was really turned up last season when Bulls general manager Krause publicly fawned over Iowa State's Tim Floyd, his desired successor to Jackson as Chicago's coach. Sources in the Windy City say the dislike runs so deep, Jackson wants Krause banned from practices. Of course, when Krause held workouts for potential draftees last spring, he banned Jackson, who was without a new contract, from sitting in.
John Calipari vs. Dan Garcia. Nets coach Calipari committed a big gaffe last season when he called Garcia, a Newark Star-Ledger beat writer who had been critical of the Nets, a "f——— Mexican idiot." Calipari and Nets president Michael Rowe each issued a formal apology. Nevertheless, Garcia sued Calipari and the Nets for emotional distress. The case has yet to be resolved, and Garcia has left the NBA beat.
Larry Bird vs. the Boston Celtics. Pacers coach Bird, who played his entire 13-season career in Boston and was a member of the Celtics front office for five years, grew disenchanted after ownership and management ignored his suggestions on trades, hiring and draft picks. When training camp opened, Bird blasted Boston guard (and former teammate) Dee Brown, predicting he would get hurt and claiming he wasn't worth his $3.5 million salary. The Celtics, particularly team patriarch Red Auerbach, are ticked.
Penny Hardaway vs. Dennis Scott. There were several reasons that Scott, now with the Mavericks, wanted out of Orlando this summer, but Hardaway was a big factor. Scott had aligned himself with Shaquille O'Neal before Shaq left the Magic for the Lakers in July 1996, while Hardaway and Nick Anderson formed another faction. Scott has described Penny to friends as a baby and a prima donna.
Dale Ellis vs. Darrell Walker. The nastiness between the Sonics swingman and the Raptors coach dates back to college, when Ellis was at Tennessee and Walker at Arkansas. When the two met last season, Ellis, then playing for the Nuggets, made snide comments as he ran past the Toronto bench after every jumper he dropped. In retaliation, Walker got personal with his remarks. The referees warned them to knock it off.
Shaquille O'Neal vs. Alonzo Mourning. When Mourning was with the Hornets and O'Neal with the Magic—they're now with the Lakers and the Heat, respectively—they engaged in physical battles in the pivot and came away with little or no respect for each other. O'Neal's departure to the Western Conference cooled the rivalry by limiting them to two meetings a season.