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).