The Chicago Bulls take Dennis Rodman's antics as a matter of course. They let him go, they fine him, and life goes on. But if he played for the Jazz - and in particular for Jerry Sloan - it would be a different story.
"He wouldn't be on our team. He wouldn't be playing in the Finals," said center Greg Foster.Asked what he would say to him if Rodman were playing for the Jazz, Foster replied, "I wouldn't say a damn thing. I know who I am. I'm not a team leader like Karl Malone or John Stockton."
Rodman was the biggest story of the NBA Finals this week - just as he hoped he would be. He skipped Monday's media session and team practice, opting instead to relax at Hooter's and show up for a pro wrestling appearance with Hulk Hogan in Detroit. He was back in Chicago on Tuesday but ran off to the locker room when the media saw him.
The specter of Rodman in Salt Lake isn't something the Jazz need to consider. Rodman wouldn't play in Utah and the Jazz wouldn't sign him. For a law-and-order team like the Jazz, Rodman would be the ultimate disaster. Likewise, staid and ordered Salt Lake City would be the end of Rodzilla as we know him.
"I think probably - I don't know. I really don't. I really don't," stammered Karl Malone, when asked if he could play with Rodman. "I think everything is timing and some people, I don't know, some people have different agendas. Some people are doing things different. If you wanted to say when, no matter what, no matter what your teammates do, no matter this and that, yes. But if you'd rather win with everybody on the same page, maybe you couldn't, but I don't know. I don't think that's something I have to worry about. Who knows?"
Sloan, who is the anti-Rodman, was clear on his opinion of Rodman's antics, indicating he would rather lose than coach a player like The Worm.
"Dennis, everybody knows what he's about. Winning has never been that important to me. It's never been that important and I'd just as soon lose if I have to be put in that situation. There are things I can deal with - yes, guys have a problem once in awhile - I can deal with that. But I can't deal with it when winning is the only thing. No, it's never been that important to me. There's too many things in this life a lot more important than winning a basketball game. So I'm not going to lose any sleep over those things, as long as I'm involved with it."
Meanwhile, Sloan was asked if he felt Rodman was taking the Jazz seriously. "I don't know," said Sloan. "He probably doesn't have to. The way they beat us the other night, they don't have to."
While the Jazz could barely hide their disdain for Rodman, the Bulls were far more forgiving. "I like having Dennis as a teammate. I wouldn't trade him for any other teammate," said center Luc Longley.
Asked why, he said, "The things he's brought to the team are far greater than anything he's done with his tardiness."
Added Longley, "It's always lively with Dennis when you go around, there's always something going on. On those long road trips he spices things up a bit."