- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 17, 2003

Seen and heard last night at First Union Center in Philadelphia:
ALWAYS ON TIME Wizards coach Doug Collins said before the game that he didn't think his post-game comments on Monday were either ill-timed or inappropriate.
After the game against the Knicks, Collins said he had been disrespected on numerous occasions this season, adding that Michael Jordan at times had to come between him and some players because of the "insidious" nature of the disrespect.
"I didn't find it criticism; it was the truth," Collins said. "We had one game left and Michael was very good with it, he was very fine. He didn't feel like it took away from his night. Basically what I said, and I want to be clear here, I didn't say everybody on our team. We have a lot of real professional guys in that locker room who do everything as a coach you ask. I think it got skewed that way."
And what about the timing? Was that appropriate?
"What was wrong with timing?" queried Collins. "I wouldn't have been around in another week. I wouldn't even be around in another 48 hours. I'm a very smart man, coach. I speak when it's time to speak."
COULDA, WOULDA, SHOULDA For 10-year veteran reserve forward Bryon Russell, the season was one of disappointment.
It was believed that he was acquired to be the team's starting small forward, but Russell wound up making 23 starts after he was displaced in the lineup by Jordan. As the season progressed, Russell seemed to fall deeper and deeper into the doghouse and was a virtual non-factor by the end of the season.
"I was just here for the ride, apparently," said Russell, who averaged 4.5 points and 3.0 rebounds. "I thought it was a good move, a good choice. But obviously I didn't know how things were going to pan out and they didn't pan out well. Coming into it I thought it was the best move, but no."
Along with Russell saying goodbye to the organization, Charles Oakley is not likely to be back next season. For the next few weeks, people are going to try to assign blame to this season, but don't try to tell Oakley that any blame should be directed at Jordan.
"I don't think what happened here was MJ's fault," Oakley said. "If anything, he helped it."
So, Charles, do you feel the same way as Russell? Was coming here a mistake?
"If I had to do it all over, no, I wouldn't have come here," Oakley said. "I thought it would be different. I thought I would play more. I'm just being real with it."
Oakley has never been one to shy away from saying how he feels, and this was apparent when he addressed Collins' post-game comments.
"He should name the guys who cussed him out so everybody would know who he was talking about. Obviously it's more than one guy because he said team."
John N. Mitchell

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