SBD/5/Franchises

WILL RAPTORS BECOME ALL IN THE FAMILY? BITOVE SR. EYES ROLE?

     Some "intriguing names are surfacing" as possible investors
in the Raptors, as team President John Bitove Jr. attempts to buy
out partner Allan Slaight, according to Craig Daniels of the
TORONTO SUN.  Daniels quotes one unnamed source who says John
Bitove Sr. is "taking a lead" in the effort while a second
anonymous source adds that both Bitoves have met over the last
week with Bill Ballard, who along with partner Michael Cohl, was
behind one of the failed bids to win the Raptors franchise.  The
source suggested that Ballard would "convince the Leafs to come
as partners with the Raptors at Air Canada Centre ... in exchange
for Ballard dropping" a lawsuit against the Leafs ownership.  A
third unnamed source said "there has been talk" that L.A.-based
MCA Corp. is interested in the team while Albuquerque businessman
Gavin Maloof's interest in the team is "dropping by the minute"
(TORONTO SUN, 11/5).
     GARDENS WON'T BE RAVAGED:  Maple Leafs Chair Steve Stavro
said yesterday Maple Leaf Gardens will not be demolished when the
club moves to a new arena.  Stavro:  "We're not going to knock it
down -- my personal opinion is that it's a shrine" (Lance
Hornsby, TORONTO SUN, 11/5).       STERN WORDS: Noting the "high
and mighty commissioner of the NBA acted ... like a kid who had
his Halloween candy stolen," Jim Hunt of the TORONTO SUN notes
NBA Commissioner David Stern's critical comments Friday against
the Maple Leafs for insisting on complete control over a shared
arena with the Raptors.  Hunt: "Stern is trying to save the NBA's
butt for a bad decision.  It goofed when it awarded the [Raptors]
to John Bitove and his gang" (TORONTO SUN, 11/5).
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