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By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 26, 2000

Troubled Rider signs with Lakers

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers, whose Dennis Rodman experiment was a miserable failure, added another NBA bad boy, Isaiah Rider.

Rider, whose constant tardiness caused him to clash with his coaches in Atlanta last season and Portland before that, signed with the Lakers on Friday. He was waived by the Hawks on March 17.

A 6-foot-5 guard, Rider provides the NBA champion Lakers, who have been attempting to trade Glen Rice, with another shooter.

Rider averaged 19.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists for Atlanta last season, near his career averages of 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists. He's a career 44 percent shooter from the field, including 35 percent from three-point range.

Rider said he was grateful to Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, coach Phil Jackson and owner Jerry Buss for "having the faith in me to give me this opportunity."

"I'm looking forward to a new start in my career," Rider said in a statement released by the Lakers.

Kupchak said: "This was a great opportunity to get an experienced and very talented player."

Rider, who complained last season that Atlanta coach Lenny Wilkens wasn't letting him fulfill his natural role as a scorer, played in 60 games for the Hawks.

Rider's career is checkered with suspensions. He missed 12 games during three seasons in Portland for infractions ranging from flagrant fouls to spitting on fans.

PISTONS: An eight-player trade with Dallas will be made early next week, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The Pistons will send power forwards Loy Vaught and Christian Laettner and free-agent forward Terry Mills to the Mavericks for small forward Cedric Ceballos, point guards Dana Barros and Eric Murdock, and power forwards John Wallace and Billy Curley.

The Pistons also are expected to receive a first-round draft pick and $3-million.

ROCKETS: Former Clippers forward Maurice Taylor signed a one-year contract for the salary-cap exception $2.5-million.

The 6-foot-9, 260-pound Taylor spent his first three seasons with the Clippers. He averaged 14.8 points and 5.2 rebounds.

WNBA final

HOUSTON -- The numbers are starting to favor the Comets: one more victory, one more championship.

The Comets started the playoffs as underdogs, but they beat the New York Liberty 59-55 Thursday night in Game 1 of the championship series.

Today they will be in a familiar spot -- one win from their fourth straight title, a chance to remain the only champions the league ever has known.

The Comets expect a fight, just as they got last season from the Liberty.

"They're not going to come in and give it to us," Comets center Tammy Jackson said. "They didn't do it last year and we don't expect them to do it this year."

New York has been Houston's championship series victim twice in three years.

"We're going to walk in and lift our heads is what we're going to do," New York guard Teresa Weatherspoon said. "We can't allow this game (Game 1) to get us down. You do and walk into that arena in Houston, and you're dead.

"We gotta believe in the impossible when no one else does."

SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD: Suzie McConnell Serio of the Cleveland Rockers won the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award. McConnell Serio, who retired after Cleveland's season ended Monday, also won the award in 1998. A guard, McConnell Serio averaged 5.4 points and 3.7 assists last season.

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