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Around The Rim
Ian Thomsen
November 27, 2000
Sonics G.M. Wally Walker had no idea how close his coach came to being canned. Embattled Paul Westphal walked into the locker room after a loss at Orlando dropped the team to 1-3 and told his players he would resign if they wished. Gary Payton refused to allow a vote, saying that firing the coach is the G.M.'s responsibility. "Paul is an honorable guy," Walker says, "and he was doing what he felt was in the team's best interests." Since the nonvote, the Sonics have gone 3-4....
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November 27, 2000

Around The Rim

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Sonics G.M. Wally Walker had no idea how close his coach came to being canned. Embattled Paul Westphal walked into the locker room after a loss at Orlando dropped the team to 1-3 and told his players he would resign if they wished. Gary Payton refused to allow a vote, saying that firing the coach is the G.M.'s responsibility. "Paul is an honorable guy," Walker says, "and he was doing what he felt was in the team's best interests." Since the nonvote, the Sonics have gone 3-4....

Pacers point guard Travis Best, who is playing the best basketball of his five-year career, is willing to go to the bench when Jalen Rose returns, perhaps this week, after rehabbing his fractured left wrist. "It's one of those things I can't control," says Best, who will still join Rose and Reggie Miller on the court in the fourth quarter....

The Magic insists the healing of Grant Hill's surgically repaired ankle was not delayed by his playing in two games at me beginning of the season. (He has been sidelined since Nov. 3.) "We put him through an X-ray every seven days, and every two weeks he has a bone scan," says Orlando G.M. John Gabriel. The team hopes to establish a timetable by the end of the month for Hill's return....

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is learning that it can be dangerous to pay close attention to the referees. Since he asked his staff to chart the refs' calls to pick up tendencies and biases, Cuban has earned a technical (and a $5,000 fine) at Sacramento and been escorted from the court in Phoenix for berating ref Hue Hollins.

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