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Around The Rim
Jackie MacMullan
January 24, 2000
Larry Bird is off the hook. Although the Pacers finished last week with the best record in the Eastern Conference, Bird won't have to coach in the All-Star Game, an event he hates because of the hype surrounding it. Since there was no All-Star Game last year because of the lockout, and since Bird coached the East in the last one, in '98, he is forbidden to fill that role again this season....
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January 24, 2000

Around The Rim

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Larry Bird is off the hook. Although the Pacers finished last week with the best record in the Eastern Conference, Bird won't have to coach in the All-Star Game, an event he hates because of the hype surrounding it. Since there was no All-Star Game last year because of the lockout, and since Bird coached the East in the last one, in '98, he is forbidden to fill that role again this season....

Nuggets guard Ron Mercer has dropped Master P's company and will have Andy Miller negotiate his new deal next summer instead. Says Denver coach and G.M. Dan Issel, "I told Ron I didn't dislike those other guys, but they weren't up on the rules. Ron didn't even know that once October 31 passed, we couldn't re-sign him until July 1 even if he wanted us to."

...Sources in New Jersey say it's doubtful that Jayson Williams will return this season from the broken right leg he suffered last April but that he should be fine for 2000-01, once he regains strength with continued rehabilitation....

Trail Blazers forward Jermaine O'Neal, who signed a six-year, $24 million extension last summer, is playing only 9.5 minutes per game, which is a reflection on his work ethic. The 21-year-old O'Neal has quietly told the team that if he isn't going to get more time, he'd like to move on. So why did Portland pay him all that money just to sit? It's called securing a tradable asset. If the Blazers hadn't forked over the dough, they would have lost him and gotten nothing in return.

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