Orlando forward Larry Krystkowiak, no wimp himself, has played on the same team with two of the strongest players in basketball: Shaquille O'Neal and Karl Malone.

So which of the two is stronger? Krystkowiak begs off the question, saying he doesn't guard Orlando's Shaq in practice the way he did the Jazz's Mailman. However, he does offer the observation that Shaq may be naturally stronger."They don't get any stronger than those two guys," Krystkowiak said. "And both are very agile."

He added, "Shaq has a little more raw-type power. I've seen Karl in the weight room for two or three hours. I'm not sure Shaq even lifts weights. So it's kind of a case of raw physical power versus manufactured power."

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In case you were wondering when you watched on television, yes, a large number of Miami Heat players are wearing shaved heads.

Glen Rice, Harold Miner, Bimbo Coles, John Salley, Manute Bol, Gary Alexander, Steve Smith and Matt Geiger have all taken the leap. They say the look identifies them as "The Walnut Gang."

So far, Willie Burton and Rony Seikaly have resisted. But, said Seikaly, "If we make the NBA Finals, I'll shave my head."

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Mad Max is at it again. Never one to avoid controversy, trash-talking Houston guard Vernon Maxwell was back in the news last week. He made a scene after being tossed out of a game and offered his opinion on how to help Derek Harper get out of Dallas.

Maxwell was ejected from a game in Portland, but before he left he spat on the floor, threw a warmup, threw a towel and threatened to go after a heckler in the stands.

Then there was his attempt at being general manager of the Houston Rockets. Upset over the fact that his friend, Harper, is wasting away in Dallas, Maxwell said the Rockets should acquire him. But how?

"We'll give the Mavericks a 1999 first-round pick since they are building for the future. It's wrong what they are doing to Harp. He doesn't deserve this. He is a class guy and a true professional. Somebody the young players can look up to," he told reporters.

"If the Mavericks don't want him, we'll take him. In the meantime, we'll see what else we can come up with to sweeten the pot. Maybe we'll get the coach a spot on the game show Wheel of Fortune, since they don't seem to care about basketball players."

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The Jazz's newest acquisition, guard Dave Jamerson, was cut just before the start of the season by his old team, Houston. But that isn't the whole story.

Jamerson says he was cut for financial reasons, not necessarily basketball reasons. After injuring his knee prior to last year, his contract was reworked so he would receive $1 million this year if he made the opening night roster with Houston. But in cutting Jamerson, the Rockets could take eight years to pay Jamerson back his money.

"That's basically what happened," said Jamerson. "When Rudy (Tomjanovich) called me in, he said he isn't into the financial aspects but that's why they were doing it. He said the management wasn't going to go for it and they were letting me go."

AND THEN SOME: An NBA executive on Milwaukee's new uniforms: "It's good to see the Bucks get out of those pajamas that they had been wearing." . . . San Antonio coach John Lucas on Dennis Rodman's showing up 10 minutes before a game, then grabbing 29 rebounds: "Maybe all of us should show up 10 minutes before the game and just play basketball . . . It takes all kinds of ways to get ready to play, and Dennis has his own. Obviously, he came ready to play." . . . Orlando's Scott Skiles, commenting on Isiah Thomas breaking his hand punching Detroit teammate Bill Laimbeer: "I'm sorry Isiah's not going to be playing, but in my opinion, he couldn't have picked a better guy to punch." Laimbeer on his fight with Thomas: "We love each other. That won't ever change." . . . Detroit's Olden Polynice, telling reporters how he should have been on the All-Star ballots: "You all don't know me very well. I have lots and lots of friends. I'll look in the phone book and write in everyone's name."