This Could Be K.O.'s Last Call

MINNEAPOLIS--Kevin Ollie, after 11 seasons in the NBA, was at home in Connecticut with his wife, Stephanie, and their two children. He was thinking about retiring as a player, and his family was all for it.

"They were getting used to having me at home,''  said Ollie, who completed his third stint with the 76ers last season, leaving as an unrestricted free agent. ''They kind of liked it.''

But the more Ollie thought about it, the more he realized one more contract would probably be his last one. The Minnesota Timberwolves had been calling, but didn't have any guaranteed money to offer. The more the Wolves called, the more Ollie was interested.

Finally, he said yes, signing a non-guaranteed contract, arriving the second day of training camp. It didn't take long to beat out NBA Developmental League guard Blake Ahearn for a roster spot. In a way, this is ''Sixers West,'' because his teammates include Rodney Carney and Calvin Booth, who were traded here when Sixers president/general manager Ed Stefanski needed a little more salary cap space to sign Elton Brand.

"It took him about 10 minutes to figure out what we were trying to do,'' Wolves assistant coach Ed Pinckney said. ''In fact, if he were just a little younger, he might be our starter at the point.''

At the same time, Ollie has also already had an impact on the locker-room. That was one of his major roles with the 76ers last season. Now, he's looking at another young group and enjoying the experience.

''I was leaning toward retiring,'' he said. ''Then I thought this might be my last call, so why not?''