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DID KNICKS ASK RILEY TO KEEP QUIET UNTIL AFTER SALE?
Published September 1, 1995
"Pat Riley believed he was going to be released from his obligations as Knicks coach in exchange for silence about his coaching plans" during the final stages of ITT's purchase of the Garden, according to this morning's N.Y. TIMES. Mike Wise reports "that was the reason" Riley began to negotiate with the Heat before he resigned as Knicks coach in June. According to two people "familiar with the case," MSG President Dave Checketts "did not want ITT to know the Knicks might lose Riley, fearing that such a revelation might affect the company's $1.01 billion dollar purchase. ...In return, Checketts would allow Riley out of the final year of his contract after the sale was consummated." However, when Riley asked to be released after the season, the team refused, sources say. The sale of MSG's holdings from Viacom to an ITT-Cablevision partnership became official March 13. A Knicks official tells the TIMES that "Checketts had told Riley to 'not make noise about possibly leaving' while the purchase was still in progress." However, that source adds that "no promises" were made to Riley regarding a release. NBA Commissioner David Stern is expected to rule today on charges by the Knicks that the Heat tampered with Riley (N.Y. TIMES, 9/1).