MILWAUKEE - It sounds like something that could lure Ted ("Nightline") Koppel out of retirement: "Iverson Trade Crisis, Day 9."
It is something, too, that is wearing down some of the NBA coaches who might or might not wind up working with Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson, whenever a trade gets made. Nine days isn't a long time normally, but given the intensity of the media speculation, Iverson's value on the court and guesses as to the assets a team would have to give up, the topic is getting old for some.
Boston coach Doc Rivers labled it all "crazy speculation" Friday to reporters. Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey used the same adjective in a slightly different way.
"If you sat around and thought about any trade -- fantasy trades, getting Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, all that stuff -- you'd go crazy," said Casey, who gets asked about his club's interest at least once a day and graciously declines to answer. "I promise you I don't spend a minute thinking about trading for anybody. My thing is, what can I extract from every player on our roster to help us win games."
Wolves rookie Craig Smith said there has been little talk among the players, on buses, on planes or in locker rooms, about Iverson. "Guys might be talking about it outside" the team, he said.
While the subject is speculation: The Denver Post, citing a Western Conference executive who was not identified, said the Wolves stand a close second to the Nuggets in the effort to trade for Iverson.
"It's a race," the executive said. "[The Nuggets] have the best chance and the best hand. But they need someone else badly. ... I'd say [the Nuggets] with Minnesota are 1 and 1A."
The source said the Wolves are offering up Mike James, Marko Jaric, Ricky Davis and Trenton Hassell.
Griffin not on trip
Forward Eddie Griffin did not travel to Milwaukee for Saturday night's game, heading instead to Philadelphia to attend to a death in his family, Casey said.
Griffin, averaging 1.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 7.1 minutes and scoreless since Nov. 17, left after practice Friday. The coach said he did not know how soon the 6-10 backup forward would return. The Wolves don't play again until Wednesday, facing the Los Angeles Lakers at Target Center.
No room for 'Mad Dog'
The visitors' locker room at Milwaukee's Bradley Center is so small ... (how small is it?) ... forward Mark Madsen left to do some rehab work on his ailing right shoulder in the Bucks' locker room in the first half Saturday night.
Madsen said his subluxation injury, suffered against Houston Dec. 6, still is "weak and painful and unstable."But it's getting better each day," he added.
The gap between playing the Bucks and hosting the Lakers marks the fourth time this season that Minnesota has had three days between games. That happens just once more, over All-Star Weekend.
"We pay for it in January," Casey said.
No kidding: Beginning Dec. 26, the Wolves will play 21 games in 37 days. Their first 21 games this season were spread across 49 days.