Originally created 12/29/00

Strickland suspended



WASHINGTON -- Point guard Rod Strickland was suspended Thursday for one game after missing his second practice this week, and did not accompany the Washington Wizards to Miami, where they play the Heat on Friday night.

Strickland, who also was fined, missed practice Tuesday and Thursday.

Coach Leonard Hamilton said Strickland was not excused from the practice and that he did not know why the veteran did not attend.

"We're waiting to hear from him," Hamilton said. "I haven't talked to him."

Strickland overslept and missed practice Tuesday. He didn't help matters when he showed up after the workout and reiterated, on the eve of a game against the Knicks, his oft-stated desire that he "would love to play in New York."

Strickland's tardiness and other off-the-court problems have frustrated the Wizards since his arrival in 1996, but this was his first misstep under new coach Hamilton. Strickland didn't start against the Knicks, played only 18 minutes and was miffed at what he suspected was management's way of punishing him for past transgressions.

"I don't know if they are trying to put me on Front Street or what have you, but I've tried to do what they've asked me to," Strickland said.

"For them to do that, it's a bit much. ... It's like not being able to get past your past. You can't get past that. I just didn't think I deserved that. He told me I wasn't going to start, but the reduced minutes. I'm on bad wheels, I'm stiff and can't do nothing. I can't get into the game."

Hamilton and general manager Wes Unseld did not respond to Strickland's allegations.

The crisis comes at a bad time for president of basketball operations Michael Jordan, who has been trying to trade Strickland and other high-priced veterans to improve a team that has a franchise-worst 5-24 record. This week's problems could only serve to devalue Strickland's value on the market.

Jordan did not attend Thursday's practice and did not immediately return calls for comment. Unseld said he would not comment until he had heard from Strickland.