Shaquille O'Neal, in a declaration straight out of a pro wrestling script, says he wants Hakeem Olajuwon.
Two weeks after being swept in the Finals by Olajuwon and Houston, O'Neal has turned from rebounding to copy writing.
In a two-sentence letter, printed as a full-page ad in today's editions of the New York Times and USA Today, the Orlando Magic center insists he is not through with Olajuwon.
The letter reads: "Hakeem _ The series may be a done deal, but it ain't over between you and me. Sure, you're pretty good with your team behind you, but I want you one on one."
Blazers to pick up tab
PORTLAND, Ore. _ The Toronto Raptors apparently got a bargain when they chose the Trail Blazers' Jerome Kersey in Saturday's expansion draft.
The Oregonian on Sunday quoted a source familiar with the arrangement as saying Portland agreed to pick up all of Kersey's $4.4-million salary for next season if Toronto selected him.
The Blazers are trying to unload some big contracts as they attempt to restructure the team with younger players. Kersey turns 33 today.
Portland made a similar arrangement when it traded Clyde Drexler to Houston. The Blazers are picking up a large share of the $9.75-million balloon payment Drexler is to receive next season.
Labor pains on hold
NEW YORK _ NBA players waited to learn whether the league was willing to reopen talks on a labor deal that already had been agreed to in principle.
Simon Gourdine, the union's executive director, said he did not expect the two sides to meet before Wednesday's college draft because of scheduling conflicts.
Owners approved a new collective-bargaining agreement negotiated by both sides, but players were unwilling to approve the deal.