When Latrell Sprewell's NBA-imposed suspension for choking his coach P.J. Carlesimo was reduced Wednesday and his contract with the Golden State Warriors was reinstated for the next two seasons, it was the talk of the NBA.
But the Utah Jazz, for the most part, didn't want to talk about it - at least not on record."If you have questions concerning (the Sprewell decision) watch CNN, because I don't have any answers for you," said Jazz forward Karl Malone. "I'm not going to talk about it."
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan offered a similar response when asked about Sprewell.
"I don't have anything to say about that," said Sloan. "It's over. We've been asked about it for months. Let's talk about something important - basketball."
Sloan said, however, that he wishes Sprewell "the best of luck," but then he turned his thoughts back to what happened in Utah's 110-94 victory over the Boston Celtics in the Fleet Center.
"Karl Malone and (Antoine) Walker were terrific tonight and here we are talking about Sprewell," said Sloan. "Isn't that amazing. Walker's a wonderful young player, Malone's a wonderful older player. We should be talking about them."
One Jazzman who would talk about Sprewell, at least a little bit, was Chris Morris, the Jazz's representative in the player's union.
"I'm glad he's back," said Morris. "He needs to get working on the mental aspect of it so that he can control his temper. He needs to come back and be ready to play so that he can be the all-star caliber player he can be."
Morris said he understands the serious nature of the Sprewell incident. He said the NBA and the Warriors were right in disciplining him but that a full-year's suspension and voiding his contract was too much. Morris said the arbitrator who ruled on the case, John Feerick, "made sure justice prevailed."
While the Jazz coach wouldn't talk about Sprewell, the Celtics' coach went on at length.
"It's a tough situation for both parties," said Boston coach Rick Pitino. "Sprewell certainly doesn't want to be there and they, obviously, don't want to have him. I don't think the arbitrator did them any favors."
While the Warriors can trade Sprewell at season's end, Pitino wonders if they'll get fair market value for a talent of his caliber.
The Warriors "had a windfall of room - $5 million - under the salary cap (after voiding Sprewell's contract," Pitino pointed out.
"I'm sure they would have rather had that than the chance to trade him. He's not going to have a lot of value because everybody knows they have to trade him."