However, to say that the Seattle brass preferred Ellis to McDaniel is simply not true. The Sonics tried to trade Ellis over the summer and failed. But when circumstances forced them to get rid of one player or the other, they took the best deal they could get. It wasn't much: Seattle got forward Eddie Johnson and two first-round draft picks for McDaniel. Ellis hasn't been blackballed by the NBAs other teams, but judging from some of the comments made about him, he's not exactly on anyone's A list, either.
"I don't think they'll ever be able to trade Dale," says one coach. "I just don't think a solid team will give up anything for him."
Says another coach, "On the court I'd love to have him, but I don't think I want to deal with the other days of the year. There has to be something very wrong."
Ellis does get support, albeit some of it backhanded. Milwaukee Bucks coach Del Harris casts a semipositive vote: "The recommendation I hear is that he's a better guy than you'd be led to believe." Charlotte's Gene Littles says, "I think Dale needs new scenery. He's one of the best guards in the league, and with a new team he might have a new lease on life."
CHOICES: A POLL
The names of two young small forwards—the Bulls' Scottie Pippen and the Pistons' Dennis Rodman—are on the board, but you can't have both. Which one do you choose? In what will be a regular feature of this column, I asked that question of either the coach or the general manager of every NBA team (excluding the Bulls and the Pistons). Eliminating the cowardly abstentions, I came up with these results:
Western Conference: Rodman 6, Pippen 6.
Eastern Conference: Rodman 5, Pippen 3.
Total: Rodman 11, Pippen 9.
Two coaches mentioned Pippen's tendency to mimic teammate Michael Jordan, but they came to different conclusions about it. "He's obviously following the right guy," said the Nets' Bill Fitch. But another of the Eastern Conference coaches said, "If they ever make The Michael Jordan Story, Pippen might get the title role. I think he gets distracted, though, in trying to be a little too much like Michael."