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Arison Heats Things Up In Miami

When Micky Arison’s family completed a deal to buy the struggling Miami Heat, he said he’d bring fast, sweeping changes.

He wasn’t kidding.

The day after the NBA Board of Governors approved the sale, Arison appointed Dave Wohl the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations. Within hours, Wohl fired coach Kevin Loughery and replaced him with Alvin Gentry, a Heat assistant.

“It was my feeling that the team was not going in the direction that we would like it to go,” said Wohl, who was a Heat assistant in the expansion team’s first three seasons. “And I felt Kevin wasn’t having a whole lot of fun doing it.”

Wohl told Loughery he was out after Tuesday morning’s practice. The 55-year-old coach, who led the Heat to the playoffs two of the last three seasons, was offered a position as vice president for player personnel. It was not immediately known if Loughery would stay with the team.

Loughery compiled a 133-159 record in 3 1/2 years with the Heat.

Mad Max files suit

Vernon Maxwell, the suspended guard of the Houston Rockets, has filed a federal lawsuit, claiming the fan he punched slandered him.

Maxwell filed the suit in Houston, contending Steve George and his brother, Nick George, slandered him by “maliciously accusing him of a crime, namely assault.” The lawsuit says nothing about whether the attack actually took place.

Maxwell was suspended for 10 games and fined $20,000 for going into the stands to punch Steve George of Atlanta on Feb. 6 in Portland. Maxwell said George shouted racial and sexual insults about his family, especially his daughter, Amber, who died in 1993.

He has seven games left in his 10-game suspension, although he’s filed an appeal to NBA commissioner David Stern. He says the league didn’t fully investigate the incident.

Warriors activate Pierce

Ricky Pierce, a guard who missed 24 games this season with a bulging back disk, was activated by Golden State.

In 20 games this season, Pierce has averaged 13.8 points and 26.5 minutes a game. The Warriors are 8-1 this season in games when Pierce has scored more than 15 points.