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Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen said that if neither the Ed Roski/Eli Broad group nor the Michael Ovitz expansion group can secure a L.A. stadium agreement soon, he will support putting an NFL expansion franchise in Houston and relocating an existing team to L.A., according to Curtis Eichelberger of BLOOMBERG NEWS. Bowlen: "I don't think Los Angeles is the no brainer people are making it out to be. I don't have any confidence that a stadium agreement is going to get done by either of the Los Angeles groups. ... If the stadium isn't ready, there's nothing wrong with giving Houston the expansion team, negotiating our own stadium agreement in Los Angeles and later re-locating a team there. ... Houston at some point in time will have a franchise" (BLOOMBERG, 3/11).
Senators Chair Rod Bryden met with 10 Ottawa-area MPs yesterday "as part of his campaign to persuade" government officials that Canadian NHL teams face "unfair competition" from U.S. teams, according to Graham Fraser of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. Bryden focused on int'l trade. Liberal House Leader Don Boudria: "He did not ask for tax relief for hockey players or anything like that. He gave us a briefing on some of his concerns" (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/12). Bryden: "The next federal budget doesn't come until next year and if I'm going to move by the fall of 2000, I'll have to have an agreement done long before that" (OTTAWA SUN, 3/12).
The T'Wolves announced a three-team, nine-player trade yesterday which sent G Stephon Marbury to the Nets, and in Minneapolis, Steve Aschburner writes that Marbury informed team VP Kevin McHale and Owner Glen Taylor that "he was unwilling to re-sign with the Wolves," prompting the team's trade. One of Marbury's "alleged motives" for leaving was "jealousy" over Kevin Garnett's $126M contract. Taylor: "Quite frankly, it's a shame" (STAR TRIBUNE, 3/12). Marbury said that "the town was not big enough for both" he and Garnett and called Garnett's contract "bothersome." But in St. Paul, Greg Johnson reports that McHale "made it clear" that he "was frustrated and bitter" with how Marbury and agent David Falk handled the situation. McHale: "I guess loyalty and some other words are long forgotten in our league. I can't stand that attitude." McHale also said the T'Wolves "had a better deal" on the table for Marbury, but it was "nixed" by Falk, who "told the team we were talking to that Steph would not play there" (PIONEER PRESS, 3/12). McHale, on Falk: "When he said, 'I'm going to help you,' that's when I knew we were in trouble. When an agent says those five words, cover your wallet and run like hell" (Patrick Reusse, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/12). FALKIAN GRIP: In N.Y., Peter Vecsey reports Falk "threatened" McHale that if the Nets and T'Wolves didn't do a deal, he would have Marbury, Nets G Kerry Kittles and Celtics C Vitaly Potapenko -- all clients of his -- sign with the Bulls this offseason. Vecsey adds that while Falk is touting the off-the-court income of Marbury in the N.Y. market, he is "selling gullible guys like Marbury an advertising bill of goods" because he fails to tell them that "you earn your endorsements by winning and projecting a positive image." Marbury has "sullied both ... by suddenly abandoning his teammates and forcing a trade." Vecsey, says that Falk, who he calls a "Parasite," is now "trying to sabotage one franchise at a time, either by coercing trades or demanding outlandish contracts for his clients." Vecsey: "The new CBA may have capped the income of the players, but it failed miserably to cap the input of agents" (N.Y. POST, 3/12). In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman writes that Taylor said that there is "no question Falk influenced" the deal. Taylor: "In order for me to get this thing done, I had to help him move Gatling out to Milwaukee, which was part of his deal. There were some other things (Falk) wanted to get accomplished" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/12). ESPN.com's David Aldridge writes that Falk "destroyed the fledgling hopes" of the T'Wolves and "mortgaged the future" of the Nets to prove "he still has juice" (ESPN.com, 3/12).