Fact: After winning two championships in his first two seasons in the NBA, former Dunbar star Sam Cassell has been traded three times in six months, from Houston to Phoenix to Dallas to New Jersey.
Opinion: The possibility of becoming a free agent next fall won't exactly hurt Mike Mussina's motivation to pitch well in 1997.
Fact: A weekend of sprint stakes races drew 26,489 fans to Laurel Park over three days, which isn't bad. (Although Santa Anita drew almost 35,000 on Monday alone.)
Opinion: The Miami Heat's rise from nowhere is evidence that Pat Riley simply is the best basketball coach/GM around.
Fact: A Philadelphia columnist wrote the other day that the 76ers have quit.
Opinion: Track and field didn't exactly profit from an Olympic ripple effect. Talk about an invisible sport.
Fact: Despite losing their first 13 games and falling to last place in their division, the Phoenix Suns have sold every seat to every home game so far this season.
Opinion: The New York Jets surely will improve with Bill Parcells as their coach, but the New England Patriots might improve even more with those four high draft picks they got from the Jets for Parcells.
Fact: Lawrence Phillips was fined for missing more than 30 meetings during his rookie season with the Rams, according to the Associated Press.
Opinion: It's not exactly a surprise that David Wells, facing three years of guaranteed pay from the Yankees, showed up for spring training carrying 10 extra pounds.
Fact: Maryland's basketball team has played only the 56th-toughest schedule out of 305 teams in Division I, according to the index used by the NCAA.
Opinion: If the Terps don't get their 20th victory tonight at Georgia Tech, they might not get it, period. (Their last three regular-season games are at home against North Carolina and then at Duke and Virginia. Not easy.)
Fact: Fifteen years after he played for coach Dick Motta as a member of the Dallas Mavericks, Allan Bristow is now Motta's boss as the new GM of the Denver Nuggets, replacing Bernie Bickerstaff. Bristow said Motta will be "re-evaluated."
Opinion: Martina Hingis will win either Wimbledon or the U.S. Open this year.
Fact: A psychological test given by the New York Giants at the recent NFL scouting combine included more than 460 questions.
Opinion: The Raiders will not regret signing Jeff George to a $27 million contract. He's a rock head, but he's better than a lot of the NFL quarterbacks out there.
Fact: Mark O'Meara is earning an average of $177,500 every time he plays in a golf tournament this year.
Opinion: The coming NBA draft will be extremely top-heavy: Tim Duncan and then everyone else.
Fact: Applying his record last year in Boston (10-13) against his salary this year in Toronto ($7,920,000), Roger Clemens would earn slightly less than $1 million per victory.
Opinion: They have different marketing strategies and play at different times of the year, but two women's pro basketball leagues is one too many.
Fact: Detroit Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood, on criticism from coach Scotty Bowman: "I can't even have a slump in privacy anymore."
Opinion: It should be against the rules of baseball for Albert Belle to bet with a bookmaker. What if he owed a ton of money and the bookie asked for an on-field "favor" in return?
Fact: The NHL will shut down for 10 days this time next year so players can play in the Winter Olympics in Japan.
Opinion: Kentucky was a good bet to defend its men's basketball championship before Derek Anderson was injured. The Wildcats will still give it a good run.
Fact: Parcells, Mike Ditka, Dan Reeves. In order, those are the coaches who will pick before the Ravens in the first round of April's NFL draft.
Opinion: Regardless of who said what first, Peter Angelos is mistaken if he thinks he can change anyone's opinion of Roberto Alomar.
Pub Date: 2/19/97