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Volume 24 No. 117

Franchises

     The Knicks have filed tampering charges against the Heat,
who have been "courting" the recently departed Pat Riley for
their head-coaching job for the past two weeks, according to
Vincent Mallozzi of the N.Y. TIMES.  MSG President Dave Checketts
said that the Heat "had not asked the Knicks for permission" to
talk with Riley.  Riley still has one year left on his contract,
and anyone wishing to contact him must have the Knicks'
permission.  Checketts claims that Heat Owner Mickey Arison said
his team has "prepared a significant package for Riley," and that
reports also allude to the Heat "making Riley aware" of the
offer.  Riley is said to be preparing his own suit case the
Knicks, in which he will reportedly contend that changes in MSG's
corporate structure "have altered the conditions under which he
initially agreed to work."  Winning a "breach of contract suit"
against the Knicks would allow him to coach elsewhere without
permission or without his new team having to pay compensation to
the Knicks.  The NBA's maximum fine for tampering is $1M (N.Y.
TIMES, 6/30).  Checketts:  "This may be, I think it is, the most
blatant example of tampering I have ever seen in twelve years in
the NBA" (ESPN, 6/29).

     Devils Owner John McMullen and President Lou Lamoriello met
with NJSEA officials and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman yesterday
in a "heavily guarded meeting" at McMullen's Secaucus, NJ office,
according to this morning's Bergen RECORD.  After emerging from
the meetings, both sides said they would meet again, but had
little else to say (Fitzgerald, Hirsch & Dottino, Bergen RECORD,
6/30).
     WANTED: A TEAM -- ANY TEAM:  Gaylord Entertainment President
Dick Evans, who is heading Nashville's push to land an NHL
franchise, said yesterday "a Devils move to Tennessee in time for
next season looks unlikely because the team is tied up in court,"
according to this morning's RECORD.  Evans, in his first news
conference before national press, said the possibility of a
lawsuit made things "unpredictable."  The RECORD reports that
Evans said "the intense publicity about Nashville's courtship of
the Devils could position the city to win an NHL expansion
franchise in 1997" (Bergen RECORD, 6/30).  Evans said that
Gaylord may not want full ownership of an NHL team:  "Clearly, we
are going to have to take the lead.  But do we want to own 100
percent of it?  Not necessarily" (TENNESSEAN, 6/30).
     A HOLE IN THE CASE?  The Devils, who claim their lease
extension was violated by actions taken by the NJSEA during the
lockout, reportedly met with Target Center GM Dana Warg in
October '93, according to Larry Brooks of the N.Y. POST.  Brooks
reports that Warg was invited to the Meadowlands for a meeting
shortly after the North Stars left for Dallas.  But "once
informed the team had an enforceable lease through 2002," Warg
ended talks with the Devils (N.Y. POST, 6/30).
     SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY?  Evans expressed "bitterness toward
New Jersey" during his press conference, and had the the
following exchange with a RECORD reporter: "Why don't you go back
to New Jersey?  I'm tired of the Grand Ole Opry taking all these
shots. ... Why the hell would anyone ever want to go to New
Jersey?  It's a hellhole.  I lived in New York for 10 years and I
fought to keep from going through the tunnel to that hellhole"
(Bergen RECORD, 6/30).  For more on the NHL's appeal in
Nashville,.

     Liberty Media's offer of $30M in cash to a new group seeking
the Pirates could end up hurting the group's effort.  Liberty,
parent of PrimeSports KBL, is not seeking an equity stake in the
team, but rather would count the funds as an advance towards
securing the team's broadcast rights.  MLB owners are said to be
opposed to more teams being bought by "media conglomerates," and
they also view pre-selling of broadcast rights as debt, not
equity.  The new group is led by CA newspaper heir Kevin
McClatchy.  Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy still wants to "salvage"
the bid of John Rigas, which is "in limbo because it doesn't
contain enough cash to service a heavy debt load" (PITTSBURGH
POST-GAZETTE, 6/30).

     Raiders Owner Al Davis is scheduled to appear at a U.S. Tax
Court hearing on July 10 to appeal a deficiency notice claiming
that the Raiders failed to pay federal income taxes "at the
proper time" on $10M the team received in '87 from Irwindale, CA
-- a deposit on promises to build a stadium. Team attorney Barrie
Engal said the government is contending that what was
characterized by Irwindale and the Raiders as a "loan" to the
team should have been reported as taxable income on the next
corporate return, but that the team "was two years late in
reporting it as income and paying taxes on it."  Xavier
Hermosillo, a negotiator of the '87 agreement between Irwindale
and the Raiders:  "The issue is very clear.  It was either a
payment, a gift or a loan.  Davis reported it as a loan.  Was it
ever paid back?  The answer is no.  It is income" (Kenneth Reich,
L.A. TIMES, 6/30).
     NINERS PROTEST:  In San Jose, Nancy Gay reports that the
49ers will protest the Raiders move to Oakland "every way they
can" during an NFL special meeting on July 14.  49ers President
Carmen Policy said that he is going to "play devil's advocate" as
the league's owners consider the details of the lease agreement
that Davis has signed.  Policy:  "I'm not sure it will (easily)
go through -- unless the membership can be convinced that Davis
is committed to Oakland for the duration of the 16-year lease
agreement with the Oakland Coliseum" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS,
6/30).
     DONE DEAL:  Malcolm Glazer's purchase of the Bucs for $192M
is "expected to be closed" today at NationsBank's HQ in
Charlotte.  It is the largest franchise sale in the history of
sports (Pat Yasinskas, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/30).