Johnson tells Hornets if they trade Gattison, he'll leave, too

November 12, 1992|By Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Larry Johnson issued a warning to Charlotte Hornets management last night: "You trade Gatt, you trade me."

Trading veteran forward-center Kenny Gattison is the option most available to the Hornets as they seek salary cap room to sign No. 1 pick Alonzo Mourning, who has agreed to contract terms with the team.

Hornets owner George Shinn said yesterday that a trade, not restructuring more players' contracts, is the team's likely solution. Coach Allan Bristow has lobbied against trading Gattison, but Shinn said the team is running out of options.

Johnson said he would be "very shocked and highly upset" if the Hornets traded any player to sign Mourning and described Gattison as "the guy who holds this whole locker room together."

He urged the team to restructure the contracts of Johnny Newman and Dell Curry.

"They didn't trade anybody to get me last year and I was the No. 1 pick," Johnson "Why should they trade somebody this year to sign the No. 2 pick?

"Restructure the guy who's been carrying us, Johnny Newman. Get him financially secure and let him finish his career here in Charlotte. Restructure Dell's contract, too, and get this over with.

"Why would you want to trade a guy and make eight or nine guys on the team unhappy? It would definitely affect my play."

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