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MALONE, JAZZ OWNER AGREE TO WORK OUT LONG-TERM DEAL

Karl Malone made his peace with the Utah Jazz -- and his teammates breathed a sigh of relief.

"I thought Karl would be back, but I was a little worried, I admit it," Jeff Hornacek said. "I look at the Bulls after Michael, and that doesn't look like a lot of fun."

After an extended summer of discontent during which Malone appeared to be miles away from returning to the Jazz, he was back in the fold Thursday after an emotional press conference with owner Larry Miller.

"You say things sometimes that you wish you wouldn't have said. It takes a bigger man to admit he was wrong," Malone said. "I apologize for a lot of things I said."

Hours later, Malone joined his Jazz teammates for camp-opening workouts.

Malone has one year remaining on his current contract and will be paid $3.7 million during the abbreviated season. Malone and Miller said they emerged from their meeting with a spoken agreement to work out a lucrative, long-term deal soon.

No Mike, no TV for Bulls

NEW YORK -- No Michael Jordan, no national TV for the Chicago Bulls.

In a sign of how much has changed since June, a finals rematch between Chicago and the Utah Jazz on opening night Feb. 5 won't even be shown nationally.

"We didn't look at that as a rematch of the NBA Finals because of the complete overhaul of the Bulls' roster," TNT spokesman Greg Hughes said.

In fact, just one Chicago game will be shown on NBC all season, a regional choice in the opener of a Feb. 21 doubleheader. No Bulls games will be on TNT or TBS.

In the lockout-shortened NBA schedule, every team will play 50 games.

Webber stands up Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- For the third straight season, the Sacramento Kings started training camp without their best player: power forward Chris Webber was conspicuously absent as new coach Rick Adelman conducted his first post-lockout practice.

"It gives the appearance that he is trying to force a trade," said Geoff Petrie, the Kings' vice president of operations. "But I've been instructed by the owners, present and future, not to pursue that."

The Kings began the previous two seasons without Mitch Richmond. Richmond, who sought a renegotiated contract, was traded last May to the Washington Wizards with Otis Thorpe for Webber.

Around the league

Charlotte forward Glen Rice has surgery scheduled today to repair his injured right elbow. He will be out three to six weeks. . . . Miami Heat guard Voshon Lenard is expected to miss 8-10 weeks with a stress fracture in his left leg. . . . Charles Barkley, playing golf in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, signed an agreement on the 10th tee of Tamarisk Country Club to return to the Houston Rockets. . . . The Boston Globe reported that Celtics forward Antoine Walker agreed to a six-year, $71 million contract extension.

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