SONICS EYEING WESTPHAL: The Seattle SuperSonics were mum Tuesday about reports the team was prepared to offer its coaching job to former Phoenix Suns coach Paul Westphal.

In a move seen as strengthening his position as front-runner to succeed George Karl, Westphal met with Seattle SuperSonics All-Star guard Gary Payton Monday at a restaurant near Oakland, Calif.

NBA OUT OF WORLDS: The NBA's unstable labor situation forced USA Basketball to replace 12 NBA players selected to represent the United States in next month's World Championships.

With labor problems and a likely lockout leading to a boycott by the selected NBA players, USA basketball is looking outside the NBA.

USA Basketball will invite at least 24 players to training camp, including collegians, CBA players and Americans playing abroad.

BULLS' RODGERS RESIGNS: With the NBA champion Bulls apparently on the brink of a breakup, Jimmy Rodgers resigned from his job as an assistant coach Tuesday, saying it was time to step back and evaluate his future.