Some 14 hours after losing to the Chicago Bulls in Game 6 of the NBA Finals for the second consecutive year, Karl Malone admitted that he wants heads to roll.
No, he's not asking for some of his teammates to be sent packing to the CBA, or worse, be traded to the Clippers. In fact, he hopes the Jazz roster will stay pretty much intact for another run at the title next year.What he wants is for a couple of radio personalities on the team's flagship station to get the pink slip. It seems Malone is peeved by what he feels is unfair criticism of him by the afternoon drive-time team on the all-sports station, K-FAN (1320 AM). He wants David Locke and his broadcast partner, former Jazz coach Tom Nissalke, to be replaced - or else.
"Either they shake the situation up at K-FAN with the two experts they've got on or they have to do something else with me," said Malone. "So it's me or them."
Usually not at a loss for words, Locke had no comment when asked Tuesday morning by the Deseret News about Malone's ultimatum to Jazz management.
Nissalke was equally tight-lipped. "My only comment is that there have been some things that have been misinterpreted that will be resolved," Nissalke said Tuesday morning.
Malone wouldn't say which particular comments Locke and Nissalke irritated him so much. He didn't even call them by name - although he left no doubt who he was speaking about. The Jazz power forward did say that flagship stations in other markets are not nearly as harsh to their players as the Jazz's station.
"You don't hear Chicago talk about their players like that (on the flagship radio station), win or lose," said Malone. "You don't hear the Lakers (station) talk about their players like that, win or lose. But we have a couple of experts at K-FAN, which is owned by the Jazz . . ..
Not exactly, Karl.
K-FAN is owned by Citadel Communications, which operates several stations in the Salt Lake City market. The local programming on K-FAN, however, is in partnership with the Jazz. Some of the on-air talent on KFAN is paid at least partially by the NBA franchise, including Locke. But the Jazz certainly have a strong say on the station as to who hosts which shows.
"The Jazz sit back and say these guys are great at what they do . . . . If they was so great, they'd have other jobs. That ex-coach, or whatever the hell he is, if he was such an expert he'd have a job (coaching). And then, a wannabe Jim Rome, the other guy . . . please. They work for the Jazz. That's what I don't understand. We'll fix it though," Malone promised. "We're going to fix it."
Malone already let Nissalke know of his ill feelings prior to Game 5 in the United Center in Chicago. About three hours before tipoff, Malone gave the former ABA and NBA coach of the year an earful. Malone then went on to play brilliantly, scoring 39 points to send the series back to Salt Lake for Game 6.
When Scott Layden, the Jazz vice president of basketball operations, was informed of Malone's feelings about K-FAN, he said it was the first he'd heard of them and that he was not in a position to comment.