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JACKSON PREPARES FOR LAST RUN WITH BULLS

Dennis Rodman is unsigned and skipped the Chicago Bulls' first meeting. Scottie Pippen and Toni Kukoc are question marks going into the season because of lingering foot injuries. And Michael Jordan gave the "media day" concept a new twist by not talking to the media.

So the story in Chicago Thursday was coach Phil Jackson, who almost left after last season, when he coached the Bulls to their fifth NBA championship of the 1990s.

Jackson said he returned to coach this year out of devotion to Jordan and Pippen, but that won't happen again.

"I assured (general manager Jerry Krause) I'd walk out at the end of the season, and he assisted me in that belief," Jackson said Thursday, the eve of the opening of training camp.

"It's time to move on," he said. "It would take wild horses to drag me back this time."

The Bulls also signed their No. 1 draft pick, Keith Booth of Maryland, to a three-year contract.

Meanwhile, 37-year-old Dale Ellis became a Seattle SuperSonic again. The Sonics acquired the swingman from the Denver Nuggets for Greg Graham and center Steve Scheffler. The Sonics also will give the Nuggets the least favorable of their two second-round picks in the 1998 draft and a conditional second-round pick in either 1999 or 2002.

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