June 17, 1988


Contrary to the "exclusive" report of another local publication, Jim Paxson was protected by the Celtics. Dennis Johnson wasn't. However, DJ isn't going anywhere, since the Celtics have covered themselves. Charlotte would reportedly like Fred Roberts, while Miami will be given a choice between an exhibition game and a second-round draft pick if its turn comes up.

The NBA has declined to release the names of the unprotected players in the June 23 expansion draft for the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat. However, the Charlotte Observer said it confirmed the names through league sources on Wednesday and a copy of the list was made available.

Gary Bettman, NBA vice president and general counsel, declined to confirm the names when contacted at his New York office.

"I'm the only one who knows who is on the unprotected list and I'm not telling anyone," he said. "No one will ever know all the names on the list, only the players who are chosen."

Bettman, however, did say the Heat will draft 12 players and the Hornets 11 -- Charlotte has one less pick because it won the coin flip and elected to take the No. 8 pick in the June 28 regular draft.

The following players were left unprotected according to the report:

ATLANTA -- Scott Hastings, Chris Washburn, Randy Wittman, Leon Wood.

BOSTON -- Dirk Minnifield, Fred Roberts (Dennis Johnson is also unprotected, but will not be taken through a trade for draft choice with Charlotte and Miami).

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