Notebook: Flushed out of his home, James moves in with Baker
Seattle Times staff reporter
Sonics center Jerome James is frustrated that his sprained right foot hasn't healed as fast as he hoped. But things could be worse for Seattle's 7-foot-1 center: James could be living in a flooded home.
Early this season, James was renting a Bellevue home when a toilet broke, which caused leaking in the bathroom. Because James was with the Sonics on an eight-day trip in early November, the flooding spread and his place was severely flooded, causing $35,000 in damage.
"Just my luck: the toilet broke," said James, who is expected to be on the injured list at least another week. "We were gone for a while. And it just kept re-filling and flooding. The whole upstairs was flooded. The whole downstairs was flooded."
James was forced to evacuate. And when Sonics forward Vin Baker heard about it, he offered a stay in his five-bedroom Mercer Island home.
"He demanded that I come stay with him," James said. "I could have stayed at a hotel, but he acted like a great teammate. He said to me, 'You're going to make an impact on this team. And I'm going to be right here with you to help you along.' "
James has lived with Baker — rent free — since mid-November.
It's easy to get used to staying at the immaculate home.
"It's like a palace," James said. "Something I can't afford."
But James plans to leave — eventually.
"I came from a place with 10 kids," he said. "I'm used to sleeping on the floor. So I can go back to anything."
Baker put the home up for sale after requesting a trade from the Sonics during the offseason. But the home didn't sell, and after Baker patched things up with Sonics management, he kept the place.
"I've got rooms there he can stay in," Baker said. "I don't really see him that much. So it's no big deal."
Booth may go on injured list
Calvin Booth missed last night's game because of tendinitis in his right ankle. And since the 6-11 center has been plagued by the injury this season, the Sonics are considering placing him on the injured list.
Booth didn't return for the second half of Friday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, and he missed Saturday's practice. Before getting tendinitis, Booth missed seven games with a sore right ankle.
George Karl has been fined about $100,000 for derogative comments toward Sonics management since not being re-signed in 1998. Despite being asked several questions about his former team last night, the Milwaukee Bucks coach didn't bite. When asked what he would do to improve the Sonics' playoff chances, Karl half-jokingly said, "Move to the Eastern Conference."
• Former Sonics assistant Tim Grgurich joined Karl this season in Milwaukee after spending two years with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Yesterday's game at a glance
Player of the game: Desmond Mason brimmed with confidence after each shot. By the end of the game, the Sonics guard scored 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting in 29 minutes. Mason played his usual tough defense and added four rebounds.
Top reserve: Predrag Drobnjak played only 11 minutes, but he finished with eight points and was 4 for 4 from the free-throw line.
Key to the game: The Sonics exploited a Milwaukee team playing its fourth straight road game. The Sonics shot 62.2 percent in the first half.
Dunk of the game: Rafer Alston saw the alley-oop pass coming to Desmond Mason in the fourth quarter. But Alston could only look up helplessly at Mason's hip, as the Sonics guard caught Gary Payton's pass for a two-handed slam.