The word in both locker rooms in Atlantic City was that Warriors guard Latrell Sprewell has been working out vigorously during the lockout and that he recognizes he must be on his best behavior to salvage his career. The lockout had no effect on Sprewell's suspension, which was for a period of one year dating from Dec. 4, 1997, not for a predetermined number of games, so he can resume playing whenever a labor agreement is reached. Sources in the Bay Area say Golden State will unload Sprewell as soon as it can.
The Warriors have talked to the Heat about trading Sprewell for forwards P.J. Brown and Jamal Mashburn, but Miami has also been in discussions with the Celtics about forward Antoine Walker. If a deal with the Heat doesn't happen, Golden State might ship Sprewell to the Spurs, who desperately want him. But San Antonio would have to put together a three-way trade, because the Warriors have no interest in Spurs Sean Elliott, Will Perdue or Chuck Person. Golden State will also check in one more time with the Pacers, who covet Sprewell but refuse to part with Antonio Davis. The Warriors would settle for Dale Davis, but Indiana balked once before on that swap.
The Rockets' Plans
McDyess, Pippen And Barkley?
Last May the leaguewide assumption was that Antonio McDyess, a third-year power forward, would re-sign with the Suns when he became a free agent in the summer. That's no longer the case. During the lockout McDyess, citing a desire for more attentive counsel, replaced agent Arn Tellem with James Bryant and Tony Dutt. He then told Phoenix he plans to test the market.
McDyess has told friends he wants to talk to the Nuggets, for whom he played during his first two seasons in the NBA, and is keenly interested in sitting down with the Rockets, who are also high on free agent Scottie Pippen's list. Phoenix could still re-sign McDyess, but the Suns no longer are the prohibitive favorite.
"The fact Antonio is unrestricted makes it foolish to say one team should have the edge over another," says Dutt. "The Suns have to understand that. If they felt Antonio was going to be their main guy, they should have locked him up last summer."
Some league observers believe the addition of McDyess and/or Pippen would signal the end of Charles Barkley's run with Houston. But Sir Charles, who also is a free agent and whose right triceps, which he tore last May, isn't fully healed, insists the Rockets want him back. "I'd be just as happy to stay in Houston, because I don't want to move again," Barkley says. "But only if they get some help. You're right about McDyess; they like him. If they got someone like him, I'd stick around. But I've been talking to six other teams. I can't tell you who they are, because it's illegal for me to talk to them, but I've told them it won't be about money. I want to get me a ring."