Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen's comments of a couple days ago that the Suns and Bulls were working on a trade involving him was one of the hot topics here, but by Sunday evening Phoenix coach Paul Westphal was just a little tired of hearing about it.
Asked in the postgame press conference if the trade rumor had been a distraction, Westphal shook his head and said, "I don't think that distracted anybody who had a brain. The guy (Pippen) makes some offhand comments and pretty soon there's headlines all over the place."Apparently Phoenix guard Dan Majerle, who was rumored to be a part of the trade, is brainless, because he was distracted.
"It just kind of brought me down for a little bit, because I wanted to concentrate on the All-Star Game and have a fun time, and all the questions I was fielding were mainly about a trade going on. That just took away from the whole All-Star atmosphere for me."
The deal mentioned by Pippen, which may be wishful thinking on his part, is him for Majerle, rookie Wesley Person and draft picks.
"Phoenix is a team that this could be their last title run," Pippen said. "I could see them really pushing to try to make something happen."
Pippen has also been mentioned in rumors involving Golden State (for Latrell Sprewell and two No. 1 draft picks) and Houston (for Robert Horry, Sam Cassell and two No. 1s).
EAST ROOKIE Grant Hill of Detroit said he was so pumped-up he got tired, then sick. "For the first five minutes of the game I was so tired from being so nervous and having the adrenaline flowing. I kept asking Joe (Dumars) why I was so tired. I calmed down, and in the second half I was sick to my stomach and had to hurry up and get back to the bathroom."
THERE WERE three players on the East squad - Milwaukee's Vin Baker (11 minutes played), Philly's Dana Barros and Cleveland's Tyrone Hill - who probably couldn't have made the West squad. Not coincidentally, they played the fewest minutes, although Hill at least had an excuse - a sprained middle finger. Compare them to the guys who played the fewest minutes on the West squad - Karl Malone , John Stockton and David Robinson .
PHOENIX'S Charles Barkley - sporting knee-high socks in honor of teammate Elliott Perry - looked tempted to try a dunk from just below the top of the key with the aid of a hydraulic catapult, as performed by the Suns' gorilla mascot. But Barkley's teammate, Dan Majerle, went out on the court, wrapped his arms around Sir Chuck and dragged him back to the bench. Westphal and Barkley then tried to push Houston's Hakeem Olajuwon out on the court for a catapult launch.
"If we could get him and (Seattle's) Shawn Kemp out there to try it, and they get a little hurt, things would be looking pretty rosy for us," Barkley said.
What? They don't want Malone to try it?
BAKER, MAKING his first All-Star appearance, was amazed at the camaraderie among his teammates and opponents.
"The family-type atmosphere that was between all of the players this weekend was incredible to me, because you usually only get the chance to see these guys on the court during the season, when you're competing hard against each other."
WESTPHAL WAS unimpressed with some of the antics he saw in the Shick Rookie Game on Saturday.
"It seemed like a they thought a pass didn't count unless they looked away or threw a lob," he said.
MALONE'S 15 points give him 126 in seven All-Star games. That leaves him two behind Moses Malone for the leadership among all active players.
The Mailman said he didn't mind coming off the bench, either.
"It was kind of fun to come in and give the team a lift," he said.