The expansion Miami Heat may not choose Jazz assistant Jerry Sloan as a coach, but there's no doubt the Heat and Charlotte Hornets would love to find a Jerry Sloan in Thursday's draft.
Sloan is still in the running for the Heat coaching job, but Miami's search is on hold until after the NBA Finals. Part-owner Billy Cunningham, who must sell back his share of the franchise in the next 12 days as ordered by CBS, will hire the coach.As a player, Sloan remains the No. 1 expansion success story. The third guard for the Baltimore Bullets, Sloan was left unprotected in 1966 and Chicago took him. He went on to play 10 seasons for the Bulls and became an All-Star.
"I was hoping I'd get to go to Chicago, but I didn't know," Sloan remembers. "It was obviously a big break for me, and I was excited about it."
Sloan had moved all his belongings home from Baltimore that summer, figuring he'd be playing somewhere else. He liked the expansion idea, figuring, "Everybody would start off with an equal opportunity."
In a curious twist, the Bulls also drafted Johnny Kerr off that Baltimore team - to be their coach. Chicago became the only expansion team to make the playoffs in the first year. Sloan joins Phoenix's Gail Goodrich and Dick Van Arsdale, Milwaukee's Jon McGlocklin and Cleveland's Bingo Smith as the all-time best expansion draftees.
ADD EXPANSION: We conducted our own mock expansion draft, dividing up the available players this way:
Miami - Atlanta's Randy Wittman, Dallas' Uwe Blab, New Jersey's Pearl Washington, New York's Pat Cummings, the L.A. Clippers' Darnell Valentine, Portland's Jerry Sichting, Philadelphia's Mark McNamara, Golden State's Ben McDonald, Milwaukee's Paul Mokeski, Chicago's Mike Brown, Seattle's Kevin Williams and Denver's Michael Brooks.
Charlotte - The Jazz's Kelly Tripucka, Sacramento's Jawann Oldham, San Antonio's Jon Sundvold, Phoenix's Ron Moore, Houston's Cedric Maxwell, Cleveland's Dell Curry, Washington's Muggsy Bogues, the L.A. Lakers' Kurt Rambis, Indiana's Scott Skiles, Boston's Fred Roberts and Detroit's James Edwards.
Watch for pre-arranged trades to follow closely after the draft.
MAVERICK MOVES: After the seven-game playoff loss to the Lakers, Mark Aguirre announced that the Mavericks needed changes if they wanted to win an NBA title.
For the record, he didn't mention trading Mark Aguirre.
"We're a good ballclub, a really good ballaclub, but we have to improve," he told the Dallas Morning News. "If we're going to win a championship in the next couple of years, I think we have to go outside the draft. We'll have to add a few players. We've gotten by with a lot of things and we've hidden a lot of things, and Coach (John) MacLeod has done a great job of hiding it. But there are a lot of things we need to win a World Championship."
AT RANDOM: More than two years later, Adrian Dantley is offering his version of what happened in the Jazz locker room on that famous night in Phoenix. Dantley says he was consoling Karl Malone for missing free throws, which had led to Frank Layden's outburst during a timeout. "After that, Frank just lost his cool completely," Dantley told the New York Daily News. "He was always saying I should show some leadership. Well, I showed some leadership that time, and he held it against me." That description differs from the story Dantley told in a press conference the week after the incident . . . Detroit assistant Ron Rothstein, the Heat's other top coaching candidate, on his designing of the Pistons' defense: "There is nothing tricky about it, absolutely nothing. We have not written the book on it. It's been done before, and it'll be done again." . . . The Jazz's John Stockton was named the 1988 Alumnus of the Year by his high school, Gonzaga Preparatory School of Spokane. Stockton was credited with 48 voluntary personal appearances last year . . . Bobby Hansen's second Iowa alumni game for a farmers' childrens' scholarship fund will be Saturday in Iowa City . . . Jazz guard Eddie Hughes is playing this summer for the Chicago Express of the World Basketball League, the 6-foot-4 and under league. Also on Hughes' hometown team are former San Antonio No. 1 pick Alfredrick Hughes and Michael Jordan's older brother, Larry . . .
In the wake of their first-round playoff loss to Golden State, the Jazz set a record for season-ticket renewals of 87 percent last summer. They're hoping to break that this year even after price increases and, although he's not sure that the plan to cut off season sales at 11,500 will be necessary, vice president Jay Francis likes the early returns. All $30 and $25 seats are sold. "That's a little different problem than we had five years ago," said Francis . . . Thurl Bailey is changing his offseason approach. Having worked extensively on weights last summer to gain more than 30 pounds, Bailey is playing more basketball and working on one-on-one moves. "I want to be a lot more dangerous than I was last year," he says.
QUOTABLE: Dantley, answering Layden's charge that he was "poisoning" Malone as a rookie: "I haven't poisoned anybody on the Pistons, have I?"