SEATTLE, FEB. 3 -- Seattle SuperSonics Coach Bernie Bickerstaff has written a letter to NBA Commissioner David Stern accusing the Utah Jazz team president of making "character assassination" remarks to a Seattle player during a game Monday in Utah.
Seattle also asked for an investigation into what team officials called "a takedown" by Jazz forward Karl Malone of SuperSonics Derrick McKey and Tom Chambers during the game's fourth quarter.
Jazz President David Checketts today denied making the remarks.
Bickerstaff said today that Checketts, who was sitting near mid-court during a 105-100 victory by the Jazz Monday night, yelled to Sonics rookie Olden Polynice, telling him he led the league in stolen video-cassette recorders.
Polynice, who pleaded guilty to stealing a recorder while attending the University of Virginia a few years ago, said he did not hear the remark. Bickerstaff said "a player" told him what was said, as did members of the Seattle media sitting near Checketts.
Bickerstaff said about the letter to Stern: "I just made a statement about how I feel when someone who runs a franchise does this kind of thing. If it is fact, then it is unforgivable.
"I won't stand by and have my players be the subject of character assassinations," Bickerstaff said. "It is intolerable when someone of his stature takes shots at players."
Said Checketts, "I'm amused by it. I've talked to Bernie Bickerstaff about it and he said his players could not confirm it. It's a joke. It's a lie."
Seattle guard Kevin Williams said Checketts directed several insults at him during a game between the two teams on Dec. 14. "It happened, but I don't want to get into it," Williams said.