Knicks seeking compensation for Riley tampering claim

The Associated Press

MIAMI The battle over the rights to Pat Riley may end with the Miami Heat giving the New York Knicks one of its two first-round 1996 draft picks.

Two Knicks officials indicated the team would be willing to settle its tampering claim against the Heat before NBA commissioner David Stern issues his ruling late this week or early next week, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

The Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale also reported that both teams had agreed a first-round draft choice would be conveyed to the Knicks when the Heat signs Riley.

The Sun-Sentinel said the Knicks are seeking either the Heat's own 1996 first-round selection or the one the team acquired from Atlanta in a November trade.

Riley walked away from his job as the Knicks' coach in June with one year remaining on his contract. He has indicated he expects to coach in Miami this season.

Dave Wohl, executive vice president of the Heat, said the team will not send Glen Rice or any other player to the Knicks as compensation for allowing Riley to coach this year.

''If there were any compensation issues, there would be no players involved,'' Wohl said. ''We like our team. We like our players.''

He would not say what the Heat is willing to give the Knicks, but cash and draft picks appear to be the only options.

Wohl is under a gag order from Stern stemming from the tampering charge. He refused to comment on an earlier report that Riley would be given a five-year contract worth an estimated $35 million to coach the Heat.

Riley has a 756-299 record in 13 years as an NBA coach. He won four championships in nearly nine years as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

LOS ANGELES Former San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh and ex-Rams general manager Don Klosterman hope to combine their talents to bring an NFL team to the Los Angeles area, it was reported Tuesday.

''This area needs a football team,'' Klosterman, general manager from 1972-82, told the Orange County Register. ''Bill would like to apply his knowledge to a football operation, and I know a lot of people in football.''

Klosterman said he has not talked to any NFL owners about the possibility of relocating their teams, although he has started putting together a list of possible financial backers.

He said the issue of an updated stadium needs to be settled before they contact teams about moving.

''The whole issue is a stadium,'' Klosterman said. ''There must be an updated stadium here before any team comes, so we are taking a wait-and-see approach. Then we can talk to teams.''

Klosterman and Walsh are longtime friends. Walsh coached the 49ers from 1979-88, guiding them to three Super Bowl victories, and also coached Stanford from 1977-78 and 1992-94.

The Los Angeles area will be without an NFL team for the first time since 1945 a year before the Rams moved to Los Angeles from Cleveland.

The Rams, who played at Anaheim Stadium from 1980-94, have moved to St. Louis while the Raiders, who played at the Los Angeles Coliseum from 1982-94, have returned to Oakland.

The Klosterman-Walsh tandem is the latest addition to a growing list of groups looking to attract an NFL team back to either Los Angeles County or Orange County.

NFL Commissioner Paul Tabliabue has said he wants at least one team in the area by 1998, the first year of the next television contract.

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