Jazz forward Thurl Bailey, who plays three instruments and has been a guest conductor for the Utah Symphony, is back making sweet music again. Bailey is at work on an album of songs he wrote himself.

This, of course, isn't Bailey's first venture into the recording field. He has recorded four songs which have been played on local radio stations. He says he hopes to have his newest project finished by the end of this summer."They'll be mostly ballads and love songs," says Bailey. "And maybe a couple of dance tunes."

A longtime musician - he plays the tuba, trombone and baritone - Bailey says he has "always enjoyed singing."

"Music was my first love before basketball," Bailey continues. "Basketball is my career now, but I'd like to prepare myself for when it's over."

If you think the Clippers beating Utah last week was a once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence, cover your eyes. It could be happening more in the future.

Besides playing much better lately, L.A. now has stockpiled six first-round draft choices over the next three years. The result is that the Clippers are in a good position to wheel and deal and trade away some of those choices for players that will be able to help right away.

"When you combine the six first-round draft picks with our current nucleus of talent, I'd have to say we are in a position of strength," says team G.M. Elgin Baylor.

***

He hasn't played in an NBA game since Feb. 27, 1988. But the legend of Philadelphia's Andrew Toney continues.

Boston Globe writer Jackie MacMullan recently chronicled the exploits of Toney, whose shooting devastated the Celtics in the 80s. The article includes recollections of former Celtic Danny Ainge.

"He was the toughest guy I ever guarded," said Ainge. "I still talk about him all the time . . . I still wake up in the middle of the night screaming his name."

Said Toney, "To be honest, I haven't seen anyone in the game with the confidence I had. I had a really tough conscience. I would pull up and take the shot, anytime, anywhere, in any situation.

"And you know what? They went in."

***

Are NBA players ungrateful brats? Spoiled money-grubbers? Not necessarily. Phoenix rookie Negele Knight took out a full page ad in this year's basketball game program at the University of Dayton, where he played his college ball. His intent was to show his gratitude to the school for its support.

The ad said, "Thanks to the University of Dayton - administrators, faculty, student body - and to the city of Dayton for all you have sent into my life. As I begin this new phase of my life, I bring all of you with me, knowing that, as a member of the UD family, I will never go my way alone."

Cleveland's Brad Daugherty on Michael Jordan: "When he takes it to the basket, three things can happen. You're either going to foul him, or he's going to score, or you foul him while he's scoring."

Chicago announcer and former NBA coach Johnny Kerr on coaching in the NBA: "It's five guys running around on the court with your paycheck."

*** Cleveland's Darnell Valentine spent two weeks playing basketball in Tampico, Mexico, last fall. His report to Akron Beacon Journal writer Terry Pluto:

- On the water: "They had bottled water at the games, but only one cup." He didn't drink it "because you didn't know whose mouth was there first."

- On the Donkey Bus: "It was like Fred Flintstone's car, no glass on the windows, the stuffing coming out of the seats and no bottom. Look down and you saw the road."

If you couldn't stay up late last Tuesday night, you missed John Stockton and Karl Malone on the Arsenio Hall Show.

The Jazz's All-Star combination answered questions from why Malone wears L.A. Gear shoes to critiquing each other's abilities.

On making the NBA, Stockton said he learned early "just to dribble around and pass it to the good guys."

Predictably, Malone carried most of the conversation, expounding on the natural curl in his hair ("Karl says if you look at it you'll get seasick, it's so wavy," said Stockton), his signature shoe deal, and his two NBA head coaches.

Asked by Hall to compare Frank Layden and Jerry Sloan, Malone said, "(Frank) was a great coach, but he wouldn't get on your case as much as the coach does now. Coach Sloan is a no-nonsense kind of coach. You suit up, you go out and play hard."

Malone also earned a few thousand more assists from Stockton by saying, "If I was starting a team, forget about Magic and all those guys . . . I'd start with John."

This report includes materials gathered from other news sources.