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Frustrated Bullets Fire Lynam

Associated Press

After a disappointing start this season, Jim Lynam was fired Wednesday as coach of the Washington Bullets.

General Manager Wes Unseld flew to Denver and met with Lynam at a hotel before announcing the firing.

Assistant Bob Staak was named the interim coach for Wednesday night’s game against the Nuggets, which the Bullets lost 106-104.

After a 19-15 start, the Bullets lost nine of 12 games and were coming off a 30-point loss against the Lakers and a 22-point defeat in Utah.

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Unseld told the team of his decision before the morning practice, meeting with every starter and most of the reserves individually.

Unseld also fired assistant Buzz Braman.

The Bullets, who have the fifth-highest payroll in the league, arguably are the most disappointing team.

Although Unseld said he had been considering the move for some time, the final straw was the lopsided losses to the Lakers and Jazz.

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“It wasn’t so much that we lost, it was how we played that I think brought it more to a head,” Unseld said. “I didn’t like the effort that I saw in the last two games.”

Lynam made no excuses.

“I’m very disappointed at not having the opportunity to see this through,” the former coach, who was 82-128 in 2 1/2 seasons with the Bullets, said in a statement.

Unseld said he had a “short list” of possible replacements, including assistants elsewhere in the NBA.

Washington’s string of eight consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance is the longest current run in the NBA.

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Kevin Garnett of Minnesota, Chris Gatling of Dallas and Chris Webber of Washington were picked by Commissioner David Stern to replace three injured players in the NBA All-Star game Sunday at Cleveland.

They will replace injured Western Conference stars Clyde Drexler of Houston and Shaquille O’Neal of the Lakers and Eastern Conference center Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks.

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Earlier, Seattle’s Detlef Schrempf had replaced Charles Barkley (ankle injury).

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The Sacramento City Council agreed to loan the Kings $70 million, money the basketball team’s majority owner said he had to have to keep the team in town.

Council members and Mayor Joe Serna Jr. voted 5-3 in favor of the loan.

King majority owner Jim Thomas said he needed the money to refinance his purchase of Arco Arena, the Kings’ 9-year-old home court.

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City officials, fearful the Houston Rockets might try to leave town, went to court to keep the team from escaping its lease at the Summit.

It’s the latest volley in the tussle between Rocket owner Les Alexander and Chuck Watson, whose Arena Operating Co., manages The Summit.

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The city of Houston insists in papers that Alexander’s Rocket Ball Ltd. be forced to stay at The Summit until Nov. 30, 2003, when the company’s lease expires. Rocket Ball is the limited partnership that owns the team.

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Don Nelson, the sixth-winningest coach in NBA history, interviewed again with the Dallas Mavericks for the general manager’s job.

Nelson is the leading candidate to replace a vacancy created on Oct. 17 by the resignation of Keith Grant, a team source said.

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A shoulder injury has forced Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson to withdraw from Saturday’s Slam Dunk contest, part of the NBA All-Star weekend in Cleveland, but the No. 1 overall pick of last year’s draft will compete in the Rookie Game. . . . Indiana forward Derrick McKey will be out for several weeks because of a stress fracture in his left foot. . . . This season’s eventual NBA champions will be among four teams competing in the McDonald’s Championships, scheduled for Oct. 16-18 in Paris.


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