Having to defend his new contract, Atlanta's Jon Koncak is this season's Danny Schayes. When Schayes signed his six-year, $8.7 million in the summer of 1988, the reaction was total surprise and mild outrage.
A year later, Schayes' deal hardly seemed outlandish, considering Koncak received $13.2 million, without even being an unrestricted free agent as Schayes was."It certainly has changed in a hurry," Schayes says of the salary market. "I knew that was going to be the case."
As Jazz player representative Mark Eaton suggests, the day will probably come when nobody gives Koncak's deal a second thought, either. Of Schayes' contract, Eaton says, "The average guy on the street probably didn't comprehend what was going on, but people close to professional basketball understood it was just a sign of greater things to come."
Eaton and Schayes became close friends when they played together with the Jazz during Eaton's rookie season. Eaton also followed Schayes to the contract table last summer - and did a little better.
That's the NBA market for you. "Every time salaries keep going up, everybody seems to notice," said Schayes. "Every time the next person goes up over the person before, nobody can believe it."
And somebody else will become the next Jon Koncak.
ADD MONEY: Amid skyrocketing salaries and constant renegotiating, even attorney-agent David Falk says, " . . . the question is, where do you draw the line?" And Atlanta president Stan Kasten is honest about the Koncak deal. "I'll say it for you - he is overpaid," he told the L.A. Times. "Every player in the league should send him a bouquet, all right. Let's face it, it's something we're going to have to deal with . . . Once that happened, it changed everything in a lot of players' and agents' minds. The players are utilizing (Koncak's contract), and you've got to deal with it. Every team has to confront it."
AT RANDOM: At Indiana, Green is wearing No. 12 because Randy Wittman had his familiar No. 14 . . . Lakers center Vlade Divac is learning English via TV and movies, but someone had to tell him that "Good morning, Vietnam!" is not a standard American greeting . . . With Orlando Woolridge injured, the Lakers have four rookies for the first time this decade. Try naming them: Divac, Steve Bucknall, Melvin McCants and Mike Higgins.
Curry, on the Charlotte crowds: "I'm sure they're going to be more anxious to win more often and a lot sooner than last year. I'm anxious to see how they'll react if we're losing." What, no postseason parade after winning 20 games again? . . . Craig Ehlo, claiming he loves living in Cleveland, says, "Winters? Who cares? When I go to work, I work inside wearing shorts and a tank top."