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NBA Coaches Brown and Riley Feud

February 28, 2001

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Pat Riley questioned the ``loyalty″ of the 76ers for trading Theo Ratliff.

Philadelphia coach Larry Brown found the comment ``remarkable.″ Philadelphia owner Pat Croce found it ``awful,″ and wondered how the Heat coach and president could ``stoop so low.″

In the major deal that brought Dikembe Mutombo from Atlanta to the 76ers, Philadelphia sent Ratliff, Toni Kukoc, Nazr Mohammed and Pepe Sanchez to Atlanta. The 76ers also obtained Roshown McLeod.

At the time of the trade, Ratliff _ one of the best centers in the league this season _ was one day out of surgery in which a screw was placed in his wrist.

``I think they sent a message about loyalty,″ Riley said Friday, a day after the trade deadline.

``Even though they are probably a very loyal franchise, a guy breaks his wrist and he’s traded,″ added Riley, whose Heat play the 76ers on Wednesday night. ``But I can understand the temptation of the present moment. It would be the equivalent of me trading (Alonzo Mourning) for Dikembe, or something like that.″

Mourning is out for the season battling kidney disease.

``I believe Pat Riley is ‘royalty’ in the league, and I’m not going to say anything derogatory about him, except that I’m disappointed he would stoop so low to try and taint this franchise,″ Croce said Tuesday. ``That’s awful.″

Brown noted that four former Heat players _ Jamal Mashburn, Tim James, P.J. Brown and Otis Thorpe _ played for the Charlotte Hornets against the 76ers on Saturday.

``I mean, that kind of blew me away,″ Brown told the Philadelphia Daily News. ``It’s kind of remarkable to me a guy would make a comment (while the 76ers were) in Charlotte. I’m looking at four guys ... that tells you a little bit about Pat Riley.″

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