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LAKERS NOTEBOOK: NO WILD CARD LIKELY IN JACKSON'S HAND.

Byline: Howard Beck Staff Writer

CLEVELAND - Coach Phil Jackson has openly pined for reinforcements in the Lakers' frontcourt, but he knows a trade before today's 3 p.m. deadline is highly unlikely. And he's at least a little disappointed.

``I don't know if `resolved' is the word I would use,'' he said of his outlook. ``My constitution is prepared. My resolution is that I won't say anything. . . . The reality is that at this time, pretty much everything is backed off. Everybody's gone home an kind of closed shop, basically. There will probably be one more deal done (in the league) before it's over. But there's not a whole lot of movement right now.''

Of course, the Lakers' 43-11 record, tied for best in the NBA, suggests Jackson can't be too concerned with the roster he has, even if it is lacking in bulk behind Shaquille O'Neal.

``I'm the kind of person that says give me the cards and lets see what happens,'' Jackson said, ``and unfortunately, we got some cards that have been dealt us. . . . The opponents that sit ahead of us, or alongside us, in San Antonio and Portland's case, are big and long, lanky and multisized in the front. We're going to have to find a way.''

When 3 p.m. passes, it will also no doubt lift a burden from Glen Rice's shoulders, as he'll know he's here for the rest of the season.

``It will be a decisive moment for him,'' Jackson said. ``It will be a message that's been lingering for him for five months. But I hope it's one . . . he's ecstatic about. He's expressed that to me. But I hope in reality it is.''

Rice, perhaps wanting to avoid the issue, hasn't spoken with reporters for more than a week.

--Grand opening: After months of delays, the Lakers' new practice facility in El Segundo is ready. So, ditching convention, Jackson will hold a practice there today, right after the Lakers land at LAX to conclude a six-game road trip.

``There's no stopping us right now,'' Jackson said, noting the Lakers have another five games over the next eight days. ``So it's pretty much the same old thing right now when we get back home.''

As of Wednesday, several areas of the training facility were not ready, though the court is down and the rims are up. Jackson has impatiently awaited this day but wouldn't say he's happy just yet.

``We'll just see what goes on there. I may be happy when I get there, I may not be,'' he said. ``They're telling me there's a lot of touches left.''
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 24, 2000
Words:435
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