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LAETTNER’S GOT AN ATTITUDE - AND THE ‘WOLVES LOVE IT

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One thing that struck the Mavericks in their interview with Christian Laettner was how he portrayed himself as an expert on every subject. One club official described the Duke star as the sort who would tell Ross Perot how to run a computer business.

Minnesota officials were left with the same impression when Laettner visited with them three days ago. He came across as arrogant and smug.And the Timberwolves loved it.

"He was enlightening," general manager Jack McCloskey said. "That's probably the most unusual interview I've ever been involved with.

"He's very bright and totally involved with a team commitment and his own personal goals. He's very unusual. He has really thought things through, and he knows that winning attitude. He wants to win another championship."

McCloskey built a Detroit team that won two championships. Arrogance - please see Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer - was part of the Pistons' winning formula.

It could be the attitude that helps push a stale Timberwolves franchise onto the road to respectability.

McCloskey has told associates he intends to keep the third pick and select Laettner.

The fact the Timberwolves never interviewed Ohio State's versatile swingman Jimmy Jackson - the only other player the club would consider at No. 3 - supports that statement. McCloskey has told reporters it would take a "spectacular offer" for Minnesota to trade the pick.

The Los Angeles Clippers reportedly tried to pry the third pick and point guard Pooh Richardson from Minnesota by offering forward Danny Manning. But McCloskey told one general manager there was no way he would make that trade. Apparently McCloskey doesn't view Manning as being quite as spectacular as the Clippers do.

The Timberwolves, it seems, are sold on the brash Duke star. And it sounds like he doesn't think they're so bad either.

"I like Minnesota," Laettner said. "I'd be very happy playing there. Wherever I end up, I'll be happy."