Allan Houston accepted so many condolences last week you'd have thought that he'd lost a loved one. In a way maybe he had, since the Knicks guard, who's in Sydney playing for the U.S. Olympic team, seemed far from thrilled with the four-team trade on Sept. 20 that sent 11-time All-Star center Patrick Ewing to the Sonics and netted New York forward Glen Rice and centers Luc Longley and Travis Knight, among others. Several of Houston's fellow Dream Teamers, including Ewing's new teammate Gary Payton, told him not to worry—that the Knicks would surely make another deal to address their newfound weakness up front.
What they didn't point out was the obvious: that any further New York trade talks may well involve Houston. Widespread rumors have New York dangling him and forward Marcus Camby as bait in an attempt to land a big man like the Hawks' Dikembe Mutombo or the Kings' Chris Webber. ( New York reportedly contacted Atlanta about Mutombo last week, but the Hawks showed little interest in dealing.) Houston was even less excited about the idea of being traded than he was at the prospect of soft Aussie Longley as the Knicks' new starting center. "Do I want to play with the Knicks? Of course I do," he said, "but I don't know what their plan is. To try to predict what's going to happen or where I'll be would not be healthy right now."
With Houston, Rice and Latrell Sprewell, New York has a glut of scorers, but Houston is committed to making it work if the Knicks stand pat. "Playing Latrell and me together wasn't supposed to work, but it did," he says. "Well be O.K." Other Dream Teamers aren't so sure. As Houston was talking to reporters after a game against Lithuania, Vince Carter ran by, patted him on the back and jokingly said, "The Knicks stink."
Houston didn't laugh, but he didn't argue, either.