WWRC-1260 Miami Heat reserve forward Christian Laettner felt his more than three-year, injury-plagued run with the Washington Wizards was nearing its end long before he was sent to the Dallas Mavericks in a draft-day trade that landed Antawn Jamison.
"I don't know why it didn't catch me off-guard," said Laettner, who averaged 5.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 48 games last season. "Even though we didn't win, not much or enough, I had lots of good times up here."
He also knew that he didn't want to play again for the Mavericks (who dealt him to Golden State two months later) or for the Warriors (who waived Laettner two weeks after the trade). "I just wanted to play for a top-notch organization my last few years," Laettner said. "With [Heat President] Pat Riley, it's top notch. I wanted to go to Miami before [Shaquille O'Neal] got traded there. Once he got traded, it was just gold." . . .
Coach Eddie Jordan has stressed that he wants the Wizards to be more physical, but he isn't complaining that his team surrendered 93.5 points in the first two games -- not when it averaged 103.
"We've got scorers on the floor," he said. "And your team shows you how to play. I remember in Sacramento when I was head coach, I wanted to press. I wanted to put this pressure up. When I had an aging Mitch Richmond at [shooting guard] and a slow-footed Corliss Williamson at [small forward], there's no way I could press. This team is built to score right now, without Etan [Thomas], without Kwame [Brown], without Brendan [Haywood]. That's our physical presence. As much as I would like Antawn to be physical and Larry [Hughes] to be physical, it's like trying to draw water from a rock, in a sense."
-- Michael Lee