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9/4/2001  1:26 PM
Would be possible for someone who has access to insider to report any worthwhile rumors here... Thanks
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Joined: 7/24/2001
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9/4/2001  1:54 PM
Posted by mtessler:

Would be possible for someone who has access to insider to report any worthwhile rumors here... Thanks

in a phrase: The Insider now sucks. Gone are the days of King Kong and the like. We will definitely post anything Knick related and any other interesting stuff. For lack of better news and to pick up the late summer lull, here is todays:

Is MJ Ready? Jordan Watch: Week 3

The big names have gone, the bigger ones aren't coming and the Michael Jordan dream camp was just that -- a dream.

If he organized it, Jordan thought, they would come.

Unfortunately, the ultimate fantasy camp -- Jordan versus the NBA's finest, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Ray Allen and Vince Carter -- never materialized. Bryant, Iverson, Allen and Carter were all invited and were all no-shows at Hoops Gym the last few weeks. Many of those who did show are now gone. Tim Hardaway's off to get settled in Dallas. Jerry Stackhouse and many of the other NBA top players stayed a week before taking off to complete "other" commitments.

Penny Hardaway stayed a few extra weeks but now he's out of there too. Michael Finley is still there and remains MJ's biggest foil.

And so, Camp Jordan is over as quickly as it began and Jordan is back to testing himself against lesser talent, guys he could pummel if he was 20 years older and 40 pounds heavier.

He's still fighting tendinitis, still trying to get his legs back, still trying to decide whether to come back or sit this one out. At least one individual close to Jordan thinks he already knows what he'll do.

"He's had his chance to play against tough competition," a source close to Jordan told ESPN Insider. "It wasn't what he wanted, but you've got to take what you got. The truth is that most NBA players are too busy in the summer to worry about improving their game. He's disappointed he didn't get more time, but he's played with them enough to get a good idea how he'll fare against the top NBA players. I think he's already made his decision . . . when he announces it is another story."

So what is the decision.

"I don't know. Only he knows. He wants to come back, but I think he's realizing it will be a lot tougher than he first thought."

Another source who attended the workouts told Insider that Jordan still has the skills to get it done.

"All of these reports about him playing like 'trash' are bull----. He's still MJ. He can get to the basket, bury the shot and shut down his man. That fire still burns. My only question is, can his body take the beating for 82 games. No fantasy camp will answer that."

That's the question on everyone's mind these days. Prospective Wizards season ticket holders got riled when the team insisted that fans pay their balances in full now -- before Jordan officially announced his decision. Fans have until today to pay in full.

"We have never tied our renewal efforts to a Michael Jordan comeback," team spokesman Matt Williams told The Washington Post. "Anyone who buys a season ticket based on that is definitely rolling the dice. In a perfect world we would love for a decision to have been made so we would not have faced this situation, but the deadline is in place because we have to start processing season tickets."

Could Jordan's comeback have been a ruse to drum up record numbers of season ticket purchases for the Wizards? It is, if you think about, the perfect marketing plan. A plan that could fatten Jordan's wallet even more than a return to basketball. Don't count on it.

"He misses the competition. He misses the game," the source close to Jordan told Insider. "It's not about money or the attention. He loves to play basketball and is having a hard time sitting in a luxury box watching other guys ply a trade that he could clearly do better."

If Jordan does come back the fans, and the spotlight, will surely come. Whether that elusive happiness that Jordan is seeking comes with it, remains to be seen.

Taylor puts the kibash on McHale's dealing ways

Well, it didn't take long for Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor to put his stamp back on his team. Coming off a one-year suspension, during which he was unable to participate in the day-to-day operations of the Wolves, Taylor told the Minneapolis Star Tribune he would be surprised if the club makes any trades before the season starts.

According to Taylor, the fear of the luxury tax means that he won't do anything else this summer. "I think the salary cap will be a little less than $54 million," Taylor said. "They haven't given us the exact figure yet. Just say that I went over and I paid Reggie [Slater] a million dollars; then I would have to pay another million dollars into the tax, plus I don't get money back from the teams that do go over the tax. It's almost like a triple whammy."

That likely means the end (for now) of talk about a trade that would have sent Wally Szczerbiak to the Bulls for Marcus Fizer and Ron Artest. It also kills talk of another deal that would have landed Gary Payton in Minnesota.

If the Wolves truly are done, then their off-season appears to have started and ended with a whimper. Their only major addition was Joe Smith. While other Western Conference teams, including the Kings, Lakers and Clippers, all improved, the Wolves chose the status quo. That could be real dangerous come playoff time.

Cook, Nuggets still at a stand-off

Former St. John's point guard Omar Cook continues to be a cautionary tale for underclassmen who think about leaving college early without a lottery guarantee.

It's September and he still doesn't have a guaranteed contract from the Denver Nuggets. Cook, who said he was told he'd go as high as 14 in the draft, slipped all the way into the second round before the Nuggets finally nabbed him..

The slide was costly. Not only will his pay drop dramatically, but the lucrative three-year guaranteed deal fell with it. His agent, Aaron Goodwin, continues to press Denver for a two-year guaranteed deal, but the Nuggets aren't budging and for good reason -- they have all of the leverage.

"We will continue to talk," Nuggets GM Kiki Vandeweghe told the Rocky Mountain News. "I expect to be talking this week."

Goodwin said that it isn't the money that matters, just the principle of the thing. "Denver has got to allow the kid a chance to grow," Goodwin said. "A two-year deal allows him to learn under (Nuggets point guards) Avery Johnson and Nick Van Exel, and Kiki Vandeweghe. The second year gives him a chance to show Denver he belongs."

Though Cook was the best playmaker in the draft, his shooting is abysmal. He shot just 20 percent from the field in the Rocky Mountain Revue this summer.
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