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ISIAH TALKS TO THE PEACOCK; ARE RAPTORS IN A FOWL MOOD?
Published November 19, 1997
Raptors Exec VP/GM Isiah Thomas "admitted ... he's negotiating for a job with NBC-TV at the same time he's trying to cut a better deal for himself with team owner Allan Slaight," according to Smith & Young of the TORONTO STAR. Speaking last night, Thomas "refused to put a deadline" on the talks with both parties, but a "high-level" NBA official said that the situation "should be cleared up by Friday" (TORONTO STAR, 11/19). In Toronto, Craig Daniels writes that Thomas "is waiting to see what gives. ... [W]hether Slaight will pony up the okay to spend money, specifically on Damon Stoudamire ... and generally on the bevy of free agents available this summer" (TORONTO SUN, 11/19). NBC Sports VP Ed Markey: "We have no deal with Isiah Thomas, I don't know where the report came from. Maybe somebody at Isiah Thomas's office" (Michael Grange, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/19). A CLEAN SLAIGHT? In Toronto, Bill Harris writes that Slaight "isn't panicking and won't be pushed." Slaight: "We have a contingency plan in place." He "reacted strongly" to suggestions that he had vetoed trades or signings due to a "lack of funds." Slaight: "Those accusations outrage me." Raptors President Richard Peddie: "In my time here there has not been a single time when a salary request or player move has been flatly turned down" (TORONTO SUN, 11/19). REAX: In Toronto, Stephen Brunt: "Perhaps Thomas sees the writing on the wall. He doesn't have a close relationship with Slaight. He has no relationship with Peddie. It's his own dough that's on the line, and the cash calls to get the arena built are proving to be a financial strain." Brunt adds "the biggest threat to the Raptors long- term success isn't one man's absence," but "it's an ownership that's so strung out financially trying to pay off the remaining franchise fee and finance its own arena that it doesn't have the wherewithal to compete" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/19). Also in Toronto, Dave Perkins: "[T]he Raptors are this close to being in a fight for their very survival in this town. ... This is strictly about money ... Whether or not Slaight wants to pay for players isn't what matters right now; the cash is not there. The cash is at Lakeshore and Bay. ... Both men will be painted as villains, but put the extra coat of the stuff on Slaight" (TORONTO STAR, 11/19). In Toronto, Chris Young adds this "is one power play that Isiah Thomas can't win" (TORONTO STAR, 11/19).