THEY LOVE L.A.
The proud Lakers may not be much better than their mediocre crosstown rivals, the Clippers. The Lakers don't have Magic Johnson, there are empty seats in the Forum, and Dyan Cannon hasn't done much boogying in the aisles. But the franchise still has an allure, at least for five of 16 players on SI's panel, which answered the question: Excluding your own, which franchise would you most like to play for?
The Magic and the Suns got three votes each, the Bulls got two and the Heat and the Spurs each got one.
Why the Lakers? Well, the Kings' Way-man Tisdale almost couldn't contain his excitement. "The glitz. The glamour. The exposure. The thought of playing for the Lakers has always turned me on," he said. Other Laker lovers were Drexler ("They treat their players first-class"), the Bullets' Michael Adams ("They pay their players well"), the Mavs' Derek Harper ("They always get the players they want") and the Jazz's Karl Malone ("No long, drawn-out negotiations with their players").
Among the Sun worshipers—the Pistons' Joe Dumars, the Nuggets' Scott Hastings and the Bucks' Danny Schayes—Dumars complimented Phoenix coach Paul Westphal. "It would be great to play for a coach who can shoot with cither hand." he said, referring to Westphal's ambidexterity as a player.
Two years ago in this space, a poll of coaches and general managers named the Magic as the worst of the four expansion franchises. Funny what a dose of Shaq will do.
The Bulls got votes from the Warriors' Tim Hardaway, who voted in injured teammate Chris Mullin's stead, and the Sonics' Eddie Johnson. The Knicks' Doc Rivers favored the Heat, and the Hawks' Dominique Wilkins picked the Spurs, but Xavier McDaniel was atypically noncommittal, saying, "I just want to go to whatever team has the best chance of winning that wants me." The X-Man has played for the SuperSonics, Suns, Knicks and now the Celtics, so his possibilities are diminishing.