Final exhibition a full dress rehearsal for limping Sonics

  • RICH MYHRE / Herald Writer
  • Thursday, October 26, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports


Herald Writer

SEATTLE – The Seattle SuperSonics will approach tonight’s final exhibition game as a full dress rehearsal for their upcoming regular-season opener, coach Paul Westphal said Thursday.

And that could include having all of Seattle’s expected starters on the court against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Forward Rashard Lewis and guard Desmond Mason both sat out Wednesday night’s preseason game against the Sacramento Kings. Lewis, Seattle’s starting small forward, is recovering from a sprained knee and Mason, the No. 1 draft pick who will start at shooting guard, missed because of a sprained ankle.

Initially, neither was likely to play against the Clippers, but both players practiced on Thursday afternoon and could be in the lineup tonight.

What must be seen, Westphal said, is whether the injured joints experience overnight swelling.

“That’s the main thing, when you’re coming off an injury, is how do you respond the day after you first work out,” he said. “If there’s swelling when they wake up in the morning, then they won’t play. But if they come back as good or better than they were, then they’ll play.

“We would limit each of their minutes some, but hopefully they’ll both be able to play. They were both moving real well (at Thursday’s practice). … We’ll keep a close eye them because of their injuries. We might rest them (more than usual) to be cautious, but for the most part I think we’ll go out there and approach this as we would a regular-season game.”

After tonight’s game in Los Angeles, the Sonics return home to prepare for Tuesday’s regular-season opener in Vancouver against the Grizzlies. Seattle opens its home schedule on Wednesday night against the Denver Nuggets.

  • Never pleasant: Westphal had the unpleasant assignment of cutting three players on Thursday morning – Tyson Wheeler, Dickey Simpkins and Eddie Elisma. Though it is a necessary part of his job, “it’s really tough,” Westphal said. “You have to tell somebody, ‘I appreciate what you did. You did fine, but we’ve got to go a different direction.’ You can see their eyes just kind of glaze over. It’s like somebody hit them upside of the head with a brick, and it’s not fun to do that.”

    The three players who were cut “played as hard or harder than anybody we have (in training camp),” he added. “If circumstances were different, you could make a good argument for having them on the team.”

  • More T-wolves: On Thursday, people were still talking about the penalties given to the Minnesota Timberwolves for negotiating a secret deal with free-agent forward Joe Smith. The T-Wolves were fined $3.5 million and docked five future first-round draft picks by NBA commissioner David Stern.

    “You shouldn’t have secret deals,” Westphal said. “I think that’s the message (from the league) very clearly.”

    Westphal would not assess the justness of the punishment. “I’m not here to tell the commissioner how to do his job. I had my say with the miking the coaches (which was a heated controversy last season). After that, he’s on his own,” Westphal cracked. However, Westphal did say the Sonics have had similar opportunities to negotiate secret contracts.

    “We’ve lost players because we wouldn’t do it,” Westphal said. “The agents don’t mind asking.”

  • Once a fan, always a fan: As a boy growing up in Waxahachie, Texas, Mason enjoyed following the Sonics. He owned a Shawn Kemp jersey, and had trading cards of Kemp, Gary Payton, Nate McMillan and David Wingate. “Seattle was one of my favorite teams growing up,” he said, “and now I’m playing for them.”

    Also, Mason says he hasn’t had difficulty adjusting to Seattle’s offensive schemes. “Other teams are doubling Vin and Gary and Patrick,” he said with a smile, “so I just sit out there and shoot the ball.”

    Talk to us

    > Give us your news tips.

    > Send us a letter to the editor.

    > More Herald contact information.

  • More in Sports

    Seattle Mariners center fielder Julio Rodríguez warms up during spring training baseball workouts Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
    Servais calls 2024 Mariners ‘the hungriest team I’ve ever had’

    The team is ready to rewrite the script after a disappointing postseason miss last year.

    Matt King of Team United States swims in the Men's 4x100m Medley Relay final at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
    Community roundup: Glacier Peak grad captures gold at swim worlds

    Plus, an Edmonds College basketball coach reaches a milestone, and spring teams at Edmonds and Everett nab top-10 NWAC rankings.

    Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III (9) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2024, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
    Walker, Charbonnet sure to lead RB corps again

    The running back position brings rare certainty to Seattle’s offseason of upheaval.

    Monroe players hug after a tough loss during a 3A girls game between Monroe and Roosevelt at Roosevelt High School on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in Seattle, WA. Monroe fell, 58-37. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
    Monroe’s charmed run ends against Roosevelt in 3A state regionals

    After winning three loser-out games to reach state, the Bearcats struggle with the Rough Riders’ tenacious press in a 58-37 loss.

    State basketball roundup for Tuesday, Feb. 20

    Prep state basketball roundup for Tuesday, Feb. 20: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To… Continue reading

    Snohomish’s Sienna Capelli and Arlington’s Samara Morrow scramble for the ball during the 3A girls district championship game on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    Seedings announced for high school basketball state tournaments

    Who, when and where area teams are playing in the state regional round.

    Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) plays against the Arizona Cardinals in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
    Seahawks position overview: Will Smith still hold reins at QB?

    The veteran’s 2024 salary recently became guaranteed, but a trade is still possible.

    Seattle Mariners pitcher George Kirby during a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
    Mariners’ strike-throwing machine Kirby hones his craft in solitude

    George Kirby spent his offseason training without distractions — or a catcher — in his hometown.

    Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Feb. 12-18

    The Athlete of the Week nominees for Feb. 12-18. Voting closes at… Continue reading

    Silvertips extend franchise-long playoff streak

    Everett clinched a WHL postseason berth during a 2-1-1 week, which included a split with top contender Portland.

    Glacier Peak’s Gil Mossburg and Moses Lake's Dayton Regan wrestle during the 4A boys 150-pound championship match during Mat Classic XXXV on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
    Five Snohomish County boys win titles at Mat Classic XXXV

    Redemption was the theme as three seniors won championships after falling in finals a year ago. Two others repeated as state-title winners.

    Glacier Peak’s Karianne Baldwin celebrates winning the 4A/3A girls 125-pound championship match during Mat Classic XXXV on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
    Glacier Peak’s Baldwin ties county record with 3rd title at Mat Classic XXXV

    The senior claims the 125-pound championship and joins Marysville Pilchuck’s Alivia White as local three-time winners.

    Support local journalism

    If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.