SBD/8/Franchises

REPORTS: ISLES MAY BUY NETS AND MOVE THEM TO THE ISLAND

          New York Sports Ventures (NYSV), which recently
     completed its purchase of the Islanders, is involved in
     "serious discussions" to purchase the Nets for $150-200M and
     return the NBA team to Long Island, according to Valenti,
     Logan, et al. of NEWSDAY.  The deal would provide NYSV with
     another tenant for Nassau Coliseum and "bolster its bid to
     persuade" Nassau County officials to support a new $200M
     arena.  NYSV co-Owner Howard Milstein met yesterday with
     Nassau County officials regarding the development of a 70-
     acre Coliseum site, but NEWSDAY reports that those
     negotiations "appear to have slowed" in recent weeks.  Also,
     sources said that Milstein has had "preliminary talks" with
     Mets Owner Fred Wilpon about moving the Isles "and the Nets,
     if that deal can be completed," into the Mets' planned multi-
     use stadium.  Nassau officials said that the Isles "are
     bound" to their Coliseum lease through 2015, but a Mets exec
     "confirmed" that talks had taken place, and said Wilpon also
     had "been in contact with" the Nets about the team "playing
     some games and possibly all" at the proposed new facility.
     Nets spokesperson Howard Rubenstein confirmed the team has
     had discussions about a "possible move" to Long Island but
     declined comment about a possible sale.  NYSV spokesperson
     Gary Lewi said that Milstein had been involved in "serious
     discussions" with Nets ownership (NEWSDAY, 5/8).
          MORE: Sources said that the Nets' lease at Continental
     Arena with the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA),
     which runs through 2021, contains an option to leave the
     facility following the '99-2000 season "without financial
     penalty."  The option "would have to be exercised" by January
     1, 2000, and "would be the Nets' last chance to break the
     lease without penalty."  NEWSDAY also reports that Nets reps
     "contacted" MSG officials about playing home games there
     "until a move from the Meadowlands can be finalized."  MSG
     spokesperson Barry Watkins declined comment (NEWSDAY, 5/8). 
     In N.Y., Tracy Connor reports three scenarios are being
     discussed between the NYSV and the Nets: one "involves [NYSV]
     buying the Nets outright;" another has the Nets owners
     keeping "a third of the team;" and the third would have the
     Nets owners "also getting a piece" of the Isles.  A NYSV 
     spokesperson the group "hopes to nail down a deal for the
     year 2000 in the next 60 days" (N.Y. POST, 5/8).  A possible
     Nets move was front page news in today's N.Y. POST, carrying
     the banner headline, "Escape From New Jersey" (5/8).

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