Lampe May Be Steal of Deal

by Jeramie McPeek
VP, Digital
Tim Tyers and Bob Young
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 11, 2004

An NBA insider in New York is saying that in five years, the recent multiplayer trade between the Knicks and Suns will be known as the Lampe trade, not the Marbury trade.

So far, 18-year-old Maciej Lampe (MAH-chick LOMP-ay) has not made an NBA appearance. The Knicks put him on the injured list Oct. 27 with shin splints, and the Suns put him on the injured list Friday with back spasms to make room for the return of Amare Stoudemire and Zarko Cabarkapa.

Lampe, 6 feet 11 and 240 pounds, was regarded as a lottery pick before last year's draft, but fell to the first pick of the second round (No. 30) due to questions over his contract status in Europe.

"I really like him. He has a lot of talent," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "This kid is going to be really good. He just needs more age. As a coach, I know I can give him more years. We'll just have to wait awhile. But he has all the skills.

"He needs to get stronger (upper body) and get experience. He has some things that you can't teach, like a feel for the game and shooting ability. It's a lot easier to wait and let him mature than it is to reconstruct the game. He already has the game."

How does he compare with another former Suns "project," center Jake Tsakalidis?

"We're talking Mars and Venus," D'Antoni said. "We're talking about two different planets. This guy has unbelievable skills. I liked Jake, but Jake was more robotic. This guy is a basketball player. You can't teach the talent he has."

Say what?

The Suns now have a Serbian (Cabarkapa), a Brazilian (Leandro Barbosa), a Pole born in Sweden (Lampe), a head coach who played and coached in Europe, an assistant who played in Europe (Mark Iavaroni), plus they own the rights to Yugoslavian point guard Milos Vujanic, who'll probably play here next season.

Could there be a failure to communicate? After all, the Suns looked lost at times against Sacramento on Friday.

For more Phoenix Suns coverage, check out, Arizona's homepage.

"No, there won't be a communication problem because of my experience in Europe - we had guys from seven different countries," D'Antoni said. "It's basketball and there's only one way to play it. Experience is the problem right now, that and knowing our teammates.

"Setting the basis of how we want to play is going to take awhile. If we show improvement and play with guts and heart, we'll be fine. If we don't bring out enthusiasm, we'll struggle. It's a process we have to go through."

Let's do Rio!

The NBA is considering playing a preseason game in Brazil in 2004 or 2005, and it's likely that the Suns, with Barbosa, and Denver, which features Nene, a 6-9 Brazilian power forward who has legally dropped his last name of Hilario, will be the attractions.

"If this is happening, I think this would be very good for basketball in my country," Barbosa said. "A lot of people watch this. A lot of people go see this."

Suns President/General Manager Bryan Colangelo said he is aware of informal talks about the game, but said: "Nobody has contacted me directly, yet."

Baptism by fire

D'Antoni said Saturday that his plan is simple for returning Stoudemire and Cabarkapa to basketball shape after their long layoffs.

"Just play them," he said. "There's no secret to it. Three days of practice before our next game will help. They're going to have some rough spots, and we'll just have to play through them. Hopefully, they'll adapt quick. But again, if they play hard, we'll be fine."

COPYRIGHT 2004, AZCENTRAL.COM. Used with permission.


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