Jazz rookie Luther Wright - "Loobee" to his teammates - was thrilled with last week's trip to the East. Any trip to the East is great for Loobee.

The Elizabeth, N.J., native got off the team bus in Boston, felt the cold wind, and whooped, "Yeah! All right! East coast weather, man! I love this!"Wright, who played college ball at Seton Hall, said later, "It feels so good to be back here. In Boston I'm 2 1/2 or 3 hours from home. In Washington I'm two hours from home. It's great."

Asked what he prefers about the East, Wright said, "I like the action. This way, there's always something going on."

Love of the East notwithstanding, his immediate future includes staying in Utah. Wright owns a home in South Jordan. "I don't live downtown any more. There's always something going on in the house," he said.

"The puppies are always running around and I can turn up the stereo as loud as I want," he added.

Now that he has a home, maybe Loobee will settle in and start wearing cowboy clothes, as do Karl Malone and Tom Chambers."No way. Never. Ever. Ever," he said.

"You can take the boy out of the city," he said, "but you can't take the city out of the boy."

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He was unhappy in Portland, but Washington's Kevin Duckworth apparently isn't all that thrilled with the situation with the Bullets, either.

The pudgy Duckworth has been booed by fans, who are on him about his weight, as well as his basketball play. "It seems like everywhere I go, they've got to put the blame on me, so I'll take the potshots," he said told the Washington Post. "Even if the attitude of some people here is so ignorant - there are so many ignorant people here.

"I don't mean all the fans. Some support you - but a lot don't. It seems like if I miss a shot, they boo me. If someone else misses two or three shots, nothing's said."

Duckworth went on to say he is confused by coach Wes Unseld's intentions. "There's not a lot of communication. You don't know what to expect . . . Since I've been here, I've never understood what Wes wanted from me. People criticize my stats. But they have never put me in a position to score here. I don't know what's expected of me. So basically, I'm just going through the motions out there."

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In other weighty matters, the Nets are at a stalemate as to what to do with center Benoit Benjamin, who is out of shape and in coach Chuck Daly's doghouse.

Daly wasn't enamored by the acquisition of Benjamin in a June trade. But Nets G.M. Willis Reed recruited Benjamin to Creighton when Reed was head coach there. Thus, Reed wants Daly to play Benjamin more and Daly isn't excited about BB, who has failed at every stop in his NBA career.

"Ben's a project. He needs to get down to 245 pounds (from 265) and work on his post-ups. I don't have a doghouse, but people have to earn their minutes," said Daly.

Said Reed, "He (Benjamin) has got to play more minutes to get in a groove. Anyone can have bad games, bad weeks, bad months, even bad years and still be a good player.

"I don't think we should be paying him $3.7 million a year and just give him five shots a game. I'm not going to accept 15 minutes and then tell me he can't play."

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Eddie Sefko of the Houston Chronicle writes that perhaps blonds do have more fun.

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San Antonio's Dennis Rodman and the San Antonio Spurs were rolling along nicely, when Rodman changed his blond-dyed hair to red. Immediately they lost five of the next eight.

"I told Dennis he immediately has to go back to blond," coach John Lucas said. "We haven't done worth a darn with him as a redhead."

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ADDENDUM: Charlotte's Larry Johnson on teammate Dell Curry, who had six 3-pointers, including five straight during a stretch in which he scored 17 consecutive Hornets' points: "When he got like that, everybody just forgot about their offense and said, `Let's find Dell and feed him until he throws up.' " . . . Seattle's Michael Cage on his career: "I may never win another rebounding championship, but I'm closer to an NBA championship than I've ever been." . . . Reports say trade talks between Dallas and New York have cooled, because the Mavs feel they should acquire a young proven player, rather than stockpiling draft picks. Word has circulated that the Knicks are trying to acquire Derek Harper and offering Greg Anthony and a 1994 No. 1 pick.

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