The NBA is holding the line about not holding any all-star games or league meetings in Arizona as long as there's no holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. It pulled out of league meetings in Tucson in 1987 after former governor Evan Mecham rescinded a state legislature-approved holiday for King -- at a cost of more than $200,000 because of the late withdrawal.

Now, after Arizona voters turned down a similar holiday earlier this month, the league isn't looking to go west for its showcase events, even as the Suns complete work on their new arena, scheduled to open in 1992.

"As long as things stay the same there, I think that's true," deputy commissioner Russ Granik said. "Something would have to happen there. It's unbelievable that the people in government haven't been able to figure out a way to make it work."

Word was that the league unofficially gave Phoenix the 1993 All-Star Game, but took it back when the vote was announced. Not so, more than one league official says both publicly and privately.

"I've had conversations with {Suns President} Jerry Colangelo and I know they're interested in hosting it when the arena goes up," Granik said. "But we haven't even announced '92 yet." Agent Nash, 007?

Lionel Simmons was in town with the Sacramento Kings last week, providing a chance to think about what might have been. It was Simmons who almost enticed Bullets General Manager John Nash to get out of the management side of basketball and into the player representative side last spring after Nash resigned as the 76ers' general manager.

"I really liked his honesty," Simmons said. "I was really considering him. I just thought he was straightforward. He let me know he was pursuing other interests but he was interested in representing me. He mentioned the fact that he was considering the NBC job {on the NBA pregame show, which went to Bullets predecessor Bob Ferry}. I thought he was very frank and sincere. I liked that about him."

"There were other college players that I knew personally," Nash said, "but he would have been the first. A lot depended on the NBC job. They felt it would be okay to represent a player or two, but they didn't want an agent per se."

Each went his separate way, and Simmons, the seventh pick in the draft, is doing just fine, leading rookies in scoring at 16 points a game. . . .

Harold Katz is doing a lovely job again in Philadelphia. The 76ers' owner went clear across the Atlantic to try to sign Micheal Ray Richardson. Perhaps he's not aware that veteran Gerald Henderson lives in Philadelphia, has worked out with the 76ers and used to play for them.

Instead of signing stopgap Andre Turner or making a ridiculous bid for Richardson, Katz might consider that Henderson knows the offense. As one team executive put it, jokingly: "He can play the one or the two {guard}, he's good in the locker room, he's been around and he doesn't have a drug problem. Why on earth would you want to get involved with a guy like him?" . . .

Adrian Dantley should be in uniform before Christmas. He's got the interest of four teams. "The pension fund {$1.6 million removed from the salary cap this year} has been the biggest obstacle since the end of training camp," said his agent, David Falk. "I'm really disappointed that this has taken so long. I look around at teams that are not doing well and he could add 20 points in 30, 35 minutes a game, even playing a backup role."

Sorry Charlie

The 76ers announced that Charles Barkley has apologized for his Nov. 3 comment after a victory over the Nets that "this is a game that if you lose, you go home and beat your wife and kids. Did you see my wife jumping up and down at the end of the game? That's because she knew I wasn't going to beat her."

Asked by a reporter at the time if he wanted to reconsider the statement, Barkley replied, "Nah, print it. {Tick} off those women's groups."

That's what happened, and a couple of them sent letters. Barkley and General Manager Gene Shue wrote written apologies to the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women, and Barkley reiterated his apology over the weekend. . . .

Trouble may be afoot in Indiana, where the players are quickly tiring of Coach Dick Versace's act. He's had run-ins with George McCloud and LaSalle Thompson, and after Saturday's overtime loss to the Bullets, he questioned his team's smarts in crunch time.

To which Chuck Person responded: "If he is going to run isolations {down the stretch} for Reggie {Miller}, then we have to live with what he does in the clutch. I got one play called for me in the fourth quarter." . . .

Locals update, CBA file: Ex-Georgetowner Bill Martin is averaging 10.4 points for the La Crosse Firebirds. Frank Ross, the ex-American University guard, is leading the league in steals (4.8 per game) for Sioux Falls. Ex-Hoya Jaren Jackson is averging 14.4 points for Wichita Falls, where he teams with ex-Richmond standout Kenny Atkinson. Loyola's Mike Morrison, cut by the Bullets in training camp, is at 15.8 points per game for Rapid City. And Ron Draper, the ex-AU forward also cut by the Bullets, is fifth in the league in scoring (26.6 ppg) and third in rebounding (12.4) for Quad City.