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RILEY TO THE HEAT, FOR A DRAFT PICK: The Knicks are willing to release Pat Riley from the final year of his contract in return for a Heat '96 first-round draft choice, according to Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. Sources have privately indicated the two sides are willing to settle the matter before Commissioner David Stern becomes involved, sometime later this week or early next week (MIAMI HERALD, 8/22). In New York, Barbara Barker reports the Knicks "may get cash and at least one draft pick" if Riley is hired by the Heat. They will not, however, get Glen Rice in the deal. Sources close to negotiations "shot down" a report that the Knicks are demanding Rice or any other players as part of the deal (NEWSDAY, 8/22). WILKINS' NEEDS CLEARANCE FROM LEAGUE: NBA attorney Joel Litvin says the August 17 letter of clearance from USA Basketball received by Dominique Wilkins "is not binding," according to Jackie MacMullan in today's BOSTON GLOBE. Litvin: "Under the NBA's agreement with FIBA, in order for a player who last played for the NBA to join a FIBA team, the NBA must grant clearance -- not USA Basketball. In light of that, we do not consider the matter closed." Steve Kaufmann, Wilkins' agent: "As far as we're concerned, Dominique has been issued a letter of clearance to play for Panathinakos. He's free." MacMullan reports "sources said USA Basketball mistakenly sent Wilkins the letter without notifying the NBA" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/22).
In their NFL Preview, PLAYBOY ranks the NFL's "best" and "worst" owners. BEST: Raiders' AL DAVIS: "Brokered peace between owners and players two years ago." 49ers' EDDIE DEBARTOLO: "Beloved by his players." Patriots' ROBERT KRAFT: "In two years .... have recovered from the disastrous reign of VICTOR KIAM." The Cowboys' JERRY JONES: "Give the guy credit -- he fired two legends .. and the Cowboys are still great." WORST: Oilers' BUD ADAMS: "Another oil shock rocks Texas." Cardinals' BILL BIDWILL: "Set a record by alienating fans in two cities -- St. Louis and Phoenix." Rams' GEORGIA FRONTIERE: "As clueless in St. Louis as she was in California" (Danny Sheridan, PLAYBOY, 9/95 issue).