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West, Grizzlies Are Set to Talk About Job

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From Staff and Wire Reports

The Memphis Grizzlies intend to contact Jerry West in the coming days about taking over their basketball operations, continuing the courting of West by a handful of NBA teams.

West, who already has had similar discussions with the Atlanta Hawks, among others, has plans to speak to Memphis management, probably owner Michael Heisley.

The Grizzlies fired general manager Billy Knight on Thursday, a move that in fact is unrelated to the pending talks with West, who does not intend to return to the game as a general manager. Club president Dick Versace fired Knight, apparently after an order by Heisley.

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Despite the flurry of interest, West, a Laker consultant at $1 million annually, has maintained to confidantes that he will consider only the most attractive circumstances. While there have been rumors of contract offers of more than $5 million per season, West is not yet believed to be considering anything seriously.

West, 63, resigned as Laker executive vice president nearly two years ago, in part because of the strain of running the organization. Since then, the architect of two eras of Laker championships has gradually considered his return to the game.

Tim Brown

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Allen Iverson’s status for the playoff opener against Boston won’t be clear until he practices today with the Philadelphia 76ers.

“I’m just going to do what the doctor tells me,” Iverson said. “If he clears me to play, then obviously I’m going to play. If he says he doesn’t think it’s a good idea for me to play, then I won’t get out there and risk further injury.”

Boston Coach Jim O’Brien expects Iverson to play Sunday, saying, “We’ll prepare as if he is.”

Iverson, who led the league in scoring with 31.4 points per game, sat out the last 14 games of the regular season after breaking a bone in his left hand in a game against the Celtics on March 22.

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Ending any speculation about a comeback by Vince Carter this season, the Toronto Raptors left him off their playoff roster.

Carter hasn’t played since undergoing left knee surgery on March 26.

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Forwards Rashard Lewis and Vladimir Radmanovich, two key members of the Seattle SuperSonics, were unable to practice because of injuries and were listed as questionable for the playoff opener at San Antonio.

Lewis has a sprained left ankle and Radmanovich has a sprained big toe.

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Point guard Avery Johnson, the only Dallas player with an NBA championship ring, was left off the Mavericks’ playoff roster, but Coach Don Nelson added him to his coaching staff.

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John Starks was left off the Utah Jazz’s playoff roster, signaling a possible end his career.

The Jazz put Quincy Lewis and Rusty LaRue on their 12-man playoff roster instead of Starks, 36, and injured point guard John Crotty (knee).

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The Phoenix Suns, who failed to make the NBA playoffs for the first time in 14 years, will bring back Frank Johnson as coach next season.

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The team announced that Johnson had signed a three-year contract.

Johnson, 43, took over on Feb. 17 when Scott Skiles left by mutual agreement with management. The Suns went 11-20 under Johnson, but the team appeared to play with more enthusiasm.

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