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An Eastern Conference coaching pal of Nets coach John Calipari talked him out of trading Kendall Gill to Atlanta for Christian Laettner on the NBA's trade deadline day. "John, what are you doing? You don't need that. You need a center," said the unidentified coach, believed to be Philadelphia's Larry Brown. "(Then) he gets Rony Seikaly for nothing. Unbelievable" . . . Another deal on the table, one that cannot work for salary cap reasons until summer, is an All-Star exchange: the Hawks' Steve Smith for Mitch Richmond of the Kings . . . Former Jazzman Isaac Austin has already informed the Clippers he plans to pursue free agency this summer. His top choice for employment next season? Phoenix . . . Pistons swingman Jerry Stack-house is upset with interim head coach Alvin Gentry over his lack of playing time. Stackhouse is doing little to increase his marketability when he becomes a free agent this summer. Since coming over from Philadelphia in a trade, he is shooting less than 40 percent from the field and a paltry 21 percent from 3-point range. Gentry feels Stackhouse's pain - "I feel for him. This is a big year for him and he wants to do well" - but his actions say otherwise. Stackhouse was pulled from the fourth quarter of a close loss at San Antonio earlier this week . . . Bulls coach Phil Jackson said the decision to trade reserve Jason Caffey to Golden State "puts direct responsibility on Dennis Rodman to stay healthy and finish the year on a positive note." It also should give Toni Kukoc more playing time . . . Mavericks coach Don Nelson picked up his first road win since 1995-96 when Dallas recently upset Indiana. Nellie, who was with the Knicks back then, entered the game 0-18 on the road since replacing Jim Cleamons as head coach of the Mavs . . . Pistons center Brian Williams has this to say about spraining an ankle after tripping over the foot of San Antonio's Will Perdue: "That's because he wears a size 22. If he wore a 15, I would have missed him" . . . If the voiding of Latrell Sprewell's contract survives arbitration, Golden State could have as much as $16 million in salary cap room available to pursue free agents in the offseason. The Warriors picked up Jim Jackson and Clarence Weatherspoon, who make a combined $7.7 million, in a trade Thursday. Both are in the final year of their contracts . . . Bucks guard Terrell Brandon, whose sprained left ankle is in a cast, is telling friends he may be finished playing this season. He will, however, continue rehabbing the injury.