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What they're saying about the NBA deal

THE BALTIMORE SUN

"I'm so relieved, it's unbelievable. It's like I let a balloon out of my stomach. The knots are already loosening up in my neck." -- George Karl, Milwaukee Bucks coach (above)

"You have to remember Chicago is not a basketball town -- it's a Jordan town. With Jordan gone, the United Center will be half full and we will all start watching hockey." -- Bob Bilina, Chicago resident, on Michael Jordan's possible retirement

"The negotiations would have been done months ago, but posturing was more important than progress." -- Bison Dele, the ex-Maryland player formerly known as Brian Williams, of the Detroit Pistons

"This was a joke all along. A lot of us never understood what we were fighting for in the first place. I'm glad we came to our senses." -- Chris Anstey, Dallas Mavericks forward

"Maybe they needed an earlier drop-dead date." -- Mike Dunleavy, Portland Trail Blazers coach

"If [fans] want to boo, they have every right to." -- Steve Kerr, Chicago Bulls guard

"It's going to be very hard for the players to come out of this looking good." -- Matt Guokas, NBC analyst and former NBA coach

"We can't put a bandage on what both sides have done. We must sew it up in the 40 or so games remaining and let the fans fall back in love with the game." -- Terry Cummings, New York Knicks forward

"I wouldn't blame the fans if they didn't come back." -- Jeff Hornacek, Utah Jazz guard

"We are all family again. Guys are wearing buttons with 'Solid' written on them. This game won't have to go through something like this again for seven more years. And hopefully, I'll be retired then." -- Jayson Williams, New Jersey Nets forward

"Overall, the deal is just God-awful. It is the worst deal negotiated by a union in professional sports history, as far as I'm concerned." -- Dan Fagen, Los Angeles-based agent

"We stepped on some people's toes. That's a part of negotiation. We upset some people. But we did what we thought was the best for the masses." -- Alonzo Mourning, Miami Heat center and union vice president

"It means Kevin Garnett is not going to play on our city league team. I don't know where we're going to find another 7-footer." -- Dan Ohme, who plays basketball at the same health club as the Minnesota Timberwolves star

"You got a ball on you? If you do, I'll go outside and play on the street right now. That's how happy I am." -- Nick Anderson, Orlando Magic guard

"What's the best thing about all this? That it's signed, that's what. I'm glad we got everything settled before there was a free-for-all. It could have been bad." -- Charles Barkley, free-agent forward

"I was going to college games, but it was like studying without having any tests. Those are the games." -- John Calipari, Nets coach

"Did we blink? I guess we both blinked." -- Billy Hunter, players union union executive director

"Guys can still make $14 million. If you can't live off that, something's wrong." -- Kevin Willis, Raptors forward

"The nightmare is over." -- Spike Lee, filmmaker and fan

Pub Date: 1/07/99

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