ISIAH TALKS TO THE PEACOCK; ARE RAPTORS IN A FOWL MOOD?
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).