In some of the fanciest backpedaling since Willie Mays, Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf now says he doesn't want to break up the champs, never wanted to break up the champs, doesn't have a clue where we got that idea. If the final two rounds of the team's run at a sixth title aren't dramatic enough, he offers new life to the running subplot: What about next season?

Ownership now claims it is inclined to bring back the whole cast - including Scottie Pippen and coach Phil Jackson, each of whom is at the end of his contract and convinced he's gone - but Michael Jordan needs most of the summer to decide whether he'll be back, according to Reinsdorf.This will make it impossible for the Bulls to replace Jordan with another top free agent should he decide to call it quits. But that's all right, Reinsdorf said. Michael deserves that. He should take all the time he needs.

Presumably, Elway will have made his decision by September and can be of some assistance.

"Michael and I had a talk about a week ago," Reinsdorf told the Chicago Tribune. "Michael told me he didn't know if he wanted to come back next year. He said he wants to take the bulk of summer to make up his mind, and then he feels it will be obvious to him."