Truth & Rumors: Nov. 4, 2004
Posted: Thursday November 4, 2004 12:20PM; Updated: Thursday November 4, 2004 4:28PM
Giorgio Armani wants Michael Jordan to play for Olimpia of Milan, a basketball team the Italian designer sponsors. Italy's best-selling sports daily, La Gazzetta dello Sport, reports that Armani and Olimpia president Adriano Galliani contacted Jordan over the weekend when he attended a motorcycling world championship race in Valencia, Spain. No one is reporting Jordan's response to the pitch.
If Minnesota can obtain Jason Kidd for a combination of Sam Cassell and Wally Szczerbiak, the T-Wolves become the favorites. If Dallas can swing a Kidd deal, owner Mark Cuban will be relevant in June for the first time in years. And if the Lakers can put Kidd in the same backcourt with Kobe Bryant, the loss of Shaquille O'Neal might not sting quite as bad.
Latrell Sprewell believes many of his remarks about his contract-extension negotiations, including his rejection of a reported $27 million offer because "I have to feed my family," have been taken out of context and spun by the media "to favor the [Timberwolves]."
The Timberwolves' front office seems less inclined to try to trade Sprewell and didn't seem offended by his Tuesday contract demand rhetoric. Sprewell said Wednesday he's willing to take a pay cut.
After speaking with Karl Malone, Utah coach Jerry Sloan said Malone gave no indications of whether he will return to the Lakers or retire. "He seems to be totally committed to staying out," Sloan said. "That could change if he's been out for a while and he doesn't go too far."
The Knicks have emerged as one of the front-runners for the services of free agent small forward Eddie Robinson.
Glenn Robinson, out of favor in Philadelphia, could soon follow Eddie Robinson into free agency, but the Knicks do not plan to pursue either.
Magic GM John Weisbrod said the club is not interested in bringing back Bo Outlaw, who was released by the Grizzlies.
The Heat continues to search for a player worth adding to the roster. Outlaw is an option, and Eddie Robinson has become less of a possibility.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas becomes a free agent at the end of this season, and owner Gordon Gund plans to make sure he remains with the Cavaliers.
The agent for Troy Bell, released this week by Memphis, said the Celtics had called to talk about signing his client. But player personnel director Leo Papile refuted that claim.
Nets coach Lawrence Frank is expected to sign a four-year, $10 million deal today.
The Rangers are said to be interested in Sammy Sosa, and may be willing to part with infielder Alfonso Soriano. The Cubs would likely have to pay a substantial chunk of Sosa's contract. He could make at least $35 million in the next two seasons if he is traded. The Mets, Florida and Colorado could also be interested in Sosa.
Why would Atlanta think about trading Andruw Jones, 27-year-old who's hit 250 home runs and whose manager, Bobby Cox, calls him the best center fielder he's seen? Jones has three years and $39 million remaining on his contract, and the Braves need to free up money if they have serious interest in re-signing free agent J.D. Drew, 28, a better hitter (when healthy) than Jones and a potential All-Star center fielder.
The agent for free-agent pitcher Kris Benson expects negotiations to speed up now that the Mets are set to name Willie Randolph as manager. John Olerud is open to a return to Shea if the Mets are interested in him.
Jim Leyland, who was winning fan polls by a landslide, was bypassed by the Phillies because he quit his three previous manager jobs, including his last in 1999 after managing just one season in Colorado. Leyland unsuccessfully attempted to phone Phils GM Ed Wade on Wednesday night to relieve the Phillies of their concerns, but by then it was too late.
Negotiations on a new contract for Dodgers manager Jim Tracy appear to have turned contentious over the club's unwillingness to guarantee a third year.
Red Sox officials initially have channeled their energy into trying to retain Jason Varitek and Pedro Martinez, among their numerous free agents.
The day after Martinez filed for free agency, agent Fernando Cuza reported, ``There definitely was substantial interest. For being so early in the process, I am surprised. Usually it doesn't heat up until teams are able to exchange money figures."
If the Yankees rebuild their rotation through free agency, they could trade starter Javier Vazquez, who could be their most marketable commodity in a trade. The Rangers would have interest in a possible deal of Vazquez for Soriano. Gregg Clifton, the agent for David Wells, said the Yankees had not contacted him since Wells filed for free agency on Tuesday. Clifton said he would ask Wells if he wanted to call the Yankees.
Mel Stottlemyre was surprised by published reports of his retirement as pitching coach, and called the Yankees to say he had not yet completely made up his mind on whether he will step down.
Rumors have the Cubs' Nomar Garciaparra interested in becoming the second baseman for the Yankees The Cubs are hoping to re-sign Garciaparra to a one-year contract and have had talks with agent Arn Tellem about that.
Free-agent pitcher Lou Merloni was amused by a report that his longtime friend Garciaparra was agreeable to switching to second or third base for a team interested in signing him. Merloni spoke to Garciaparra over the weekend. "I thought that was pretty funny. He's not going to be changing any positions," Merloni said.
The Cubs having interest in Anaheim closer Troy Percival.
The White Sox have begun mapping out winter plans that do not include their own free agent Magglio Ordonez, do include free agents such as Carlos Beltran and Omar Vizquel, and may include dangling first baseman Paul Konerko as trade bait.
If the White Sox are serious about remaking their team and putting a new face on the franchise, can there be a better one than the snarling, ferocious face of Randy Johnson? The White Sox are thought to be the front-runner in the Omar Vizquel Derby, but for the right price, wouldn't he also be a nice short-term fit for the Cubs?
The Marlins gave Carl Pavano something to ponder Wednesday: a three-year, $21-million contract offer.
Giant GM Brian Sabean said he may pursue an "all-around player" at shortstop such as free- Cristian Guzman, Orlando Cabrera, Vizquel and Garciaparra. Sabean said he has spoken to 20 general managers about potential trades.
Manager Felipe Alou said he has not spoken to his son, free-agent outfielder Moises Alou, about playing in San Francisco.
The agent for Carlos Delgado has been telling anyone who will listen that the big-swinging free-agent first baseman is interested in playing for the Orioles. The Orioles won't pick up reliever Buddy Groom's $3 million option, but he's open to returning as a free agent.
Seattle, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Dodgers have expressed strong interest in Twins free-agent starter Brad Radke.
Larry Bowa said he is "definitely leaning toward" accepting the Marlins' bench coach position.
Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said that Byron Leftwich's left knee will be examined again Monday and didn't rule out the possibility the team's starting quarterback will need surgery and be lost for the season. Leftwich indicated there might be damage to more than one ligament.
Junior Seau was placed on injured reserve and faces at least four months of rehabilitation after he undergoes surgery today on a torn chest muscle. He waffled on talk of his retirement, saying, "If you ask me today, I'm going to say yes [I'm going to return], but it will be assessed after everything is said and done.''
Tyrone Poole, who revealed yesterday he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee three weeks ago, said he will be on the sideline, along with Ty Law, when the Patriots face theRams.
Tommy Maddox took the news of his official demotion to Steelers backup quarterback in stride yesterday but could not say what the future holds for him, either here or elsewhere.
There isn't much of a gray area for Butch Davis. If the Browns finish above .500, he stays. If they finish below, he goes. If he finishes at .500, he better hope owner Randy Lerner rolls out on the right side of the bed on the day after the season ends.
Green Bay has won three consecutive games, gotten itself back into playoff contention and the calls for coach Mike Sherman's head have been tempered.
The Eagles approached defensive backs Sheldon Brown and Michael Lewis, whose contracts run through 2006, this week on five-year extensions. But neither have taken the deal that was offered.
With the release of defensive end Chuck Wiley, the Vikings might be adding former WWE champion Brock Lesnar to their practice squad in the coming month, coach Mike Tice said.
Despite signing former Steelers defensive end Jason Gildon last week, the Jaguars continue to search for pass-rush help. The team worked out several veteran defensive linemen this week, including James Atkins, Oliver Gibson and Bernard Holsey.
More than 500 Dallas hockey fans fired pointed and frustrated comments and questions on the owners' lockout at NHL VP Bill Daly and Stars president Jim Lites on Wednesday night. Many didn't wait for microphones to be passed their way, instead yelling at Daly and Lites about why there were no discussions and if they were really thinking about the best interest of the fans. Daly presented the NHL's side of the issue, adding that he'd be willing to at least talk about other options besides a salary cap with the NHLPA. However, in earlier interviews he said the league is certain a luxury tax system will not work.
Flyers forward Turner Stevenson said, "I've said for a year, now, it's going to be at least a year, and I still think that's the case. No Stanley Cup handed out this year. Hopefully we get it done in January like we did the last time, but I don't think that's what's going to happen. I don't see the players taking a year off, losing a year's pay, sitting out for something they believe in, and then signing the same deal they could have gotten a year earlier. That's not going to happen."
Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier is set to join AK Bars Kazan of the Russian Elite League on Nov. 23. He joins a stacked lineup that already includes NHL stars Ilya Kovalchuk and Brad Richards. A Russian newspaper reports that Kazan has also secured forward Alexei Kovalev.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer has returned with a revised offer to John Magnier and J P McManus for their 28.9 percent stake in Manchester United.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy, whose only two Premiership goals this season have come from penalties, scored all four goals in United's 4-1 rout of Sparta Prague in Champions League play last night.
Romanian striker Adrian Mutu has been banned from football for seven months following a Football Association disciplinary hearing into his failed drugs test. The 25-year-old Romania striker admitted to taking an illegal substance last month and has been sacked by Chelsea.