Will the Bulls bring the big guy?
Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen will still be out golfing, but a major question entering this year's Rocky Mountain Revue at the Delta Center is whether Chicago's newest marquee player, Toni Kukoc, will participate. Chicago's rookie/free agent team will tip off the tournament against the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday at 2 p.m.Kukoc, a 6-foot-11 guard/forward from Croatia, recently signed a contract with Chicago for reportedly $17.6 million over eight years. Kukoc has been considered the best player in Europe for the past several seasons.
The rookie/free agent roster the Bulls sent to the Jazz did not have Kukoc on it, but there is still speculation that he may show up to play.
Other games Wednesday pit Denver vs. Houston at 4 p.m., Dallas vs. Seattle at 6 p.m. and Phoenix vs. Golden State at 8 p.m. The Jazz and the Italian team, Burghy Roma, have first-day byes and will open against each other Thursday at 8 p.m..
The Phoenix vs. Golden State game should be of interest to local college fans as ex-Utes Byron Wilson (Suns) and Josh Grant (Warriors) will be on opposing teams. Also on the Warriors roster is former Utah State guard Jay Goodman, although it is not known if Goodman made the first cut.
Other players of note expected to participate include former Jazzmen Chris Munk (Chicago) and Tim Legler (Dallas). Top second-year players on initial Revue rosters include Oliver Miller (Phoenix), Robert Horry (Houston), Bryant Stith (Denver) and Tracy Murray (Portland). Some of the drafted rookies include Lucious Harris (Dallas), Popeye Jones (Dallas), Sam Cassell (Houston) and Malcolm Mackey (Phoenix).
The Revue will run every day but Sunday through Aug. 6.
The Jazz have 14 players on their roster for the Revue, including seven guards.
Last season Utah's entry became shorthanded midway through the tournament due to injuries and Corey Crowder leaving the team after signing to play in Europe.
"Players got a lot of playing time," Sloan said of last year's experience, "but some of them had to play out of position, and it was frustrating for them. We've kept a few more guys this year, so hopefully we won't have to deal with that again."
Sloan said the Revue should be especially helpful for Isaac Austin, John Crotty and Stephen Howard, who were all on the Jazz roster this past year but saw limited playing time.