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Pippen wouldn't apologize to Barkley 'at gunpoint'

BRISTOL, Conn. -- The war of words between Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley has escalated.

Pippen unleashed a torrent of criticism at his teammate on Wednesday, calling Barkley "selfish" and "fat' and saying he doesn't have the desire to win an NBA championship. Pippen was responding to criticism initiated by Barkley, who was angered that Pippen said he'd welcome a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers."I probably should've listened to Michael (Jordan) a year ago when he said that Charles will never win a championship because he doesn't show any dedication," Pippen told ESPN. "He's a very selfish guy. He doesn't show the desire to want to win. That's my reason for wanting to get away from playing with him -- because he just doesn't show the dedication."

Barkley said he sacrificed to make salary cap room on the Rockets for Pippen, who signed a five-year, $67.2 million contract before last season.

"For him to want to leave after one year, it disappointed me greatly," Barkley said Tuesday. "The Rockets went out of their way to get Scottie, and the fans have treated him well, so I was just disappointed in him."

Pippen was offering no apologies Wednesday and reiterated that he wants to play elsewhere, preferably for the Lakers and Phil Jackson.

"I wouldn't give Charles Barkley an apology at gunpoint," Pippen said, never raising his voice. "He can never expect an apology from me. . . . If anything, he owes me an apology for coming to play with his sorry fat butt.

"I was very shocked to see what type of player he was by spending half a season with him," he said of Barkley. "I'm a guy that's dedicated to winning, and I put out a lot of effort on the court. I expect that from my teammates, especially from a guy of his caliber.

"Charles is definitely one of the guys that needs to show more leadership for this ball club to be successful, and he don't show that to me. . . . He feels that if he gets 10 rebounds and double-figure points, he's done a good job. But that's not what the game's about. It's about defending, being professional and coming to work every day."

The Houston Chronicle and Portland Oregonian, citing unidentified league sources, reported today that the Rockets and Trail Blazers were discussing a trade that would send Pippen to Portland for Kelvin Cato, Stacey Augmon, Walt Williams, Ed Gray, Brian Shaw and Carlos Rogers.

Pippen averaged 14.5 points last season, his lowest since his rookie year, and shot a career-low 43.2 percent. He also averaged 6.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists.