Originally created 01/19/99

Settlement will take another day



NEW YORK -- The NBA lockout will last at least another day longer, meaning the upcoming trades of Scottie Pippen and Latrell Sprewell -- along with all other league business -- will be on hold until Wednesday at the earliest.

The lack of a written agreement didn't keep teams from pulling off deals.

The Chicago Bulls agreed to a sign-and-trade deal sending Pippen to the Houston Rockets for Roy Rogers and a second-round draft pick, and the New York Knicks were the leading candidate to acquire Latrell Sprewell from Golden State, numerous league sources told The Associated Press.

Also, top free agent Antonio McDyess narrowed his choices to Denver and Phoenix.

A number of other deals were being discussed, including:

-- Minnesota, Toronto and Denver reaching agreement on a three-way trade sending Chauncey Billups to the Nuggets, Dean Garrett and Bobby Jackson to the Timberwolves and Micheal Williams and two No. 1 picks to the Raptors.

-- The Los Angeles Lakers sending forward Tony Battie to the Boston Celtics for center Travis Knight.

-- The Bulls signing and trading Steve Kerr to the San Antonio Spurs.

All of those deals cannot be finalized until lawyers representing the league and the union finish putting the lockout settlement into writing.

Attorneys for both sides were huddled away Monday night trying to resolve several differences that have popped up, and a Tuesday night settlement appeared to be the best-case scenario.

"We'll know for sure tomorrow (Tuesday) whether we'll be starting Wednesday or Thursday," league spokesman Chris Brienza said.

The biggest disagreement between the sides concerns the new average salary exception, which allows teams already over the salary cap to sign an extra free agent. The union wants the exception to be used for six-year contracts; the league wants it limited to three-year deals.

The Bulls will sign Pippen to a deal worth $67.2 million for five years before trading him, and get forward Roy Rogers and a second-round draft pick in return, said league sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Although the salaries for Pippen and Rogers do not match, the deal is allowable under NBA rules because Houston will have enough salary cap room to fit in Pippen's contract. His salary for this season will be $10.6 million.

Pippen, a six-time champion with the Bulls, talked to the Rockets about signing with them as a free agent. It was not immediately clear why he agreed to a sign-and-trade deal, but other teams also were discussing similar deals involving Pippen with Bulls general manager Jerry Krause.

The acquisition of Pippen should clear the way for Charles Barkley to re-sign with Houston for the $1 million minimum, giving the Rockets a formidable front line of Barkley, Pippen and Hakeem Olajuwon, and allowing Barkley to keep his Larry Bird rights for another year.

The Knicks emerged as the leading contender in the Sprewell sweepstakes after Golden State Warriors general manager Garry St. Jean told all the interested teams to make their best offers by 4 p.m. EST Monday.

Sprewell, a three-time All-Star, drew the longest non drug-related suspension in league history last season for choking his coach, P.J. Carlesimo.

The Knicks, Heat and Pacers had been known to be the leading bidders, and the AP learned that a complicated four-team trade involving Golden State, Miami, Cleveland and Boston also was discussed.

In that scenario, Sprewell would have gone to the Heat along with Bimbo Coles and Clarence Weatherspoon, with Golden State getting Brent Barry, Dan Majerle and Bobby Sura. Boston would have received Jamal Mashburn and Vitaly Potapenko, and Cleveland would have received Paul Pierce and Andrew Declercq.

McDyess is expected to decide Tuesday between re-signing with Phoenix or going to Denver. The Rockets and Bulls were among his earlier choices.

"Houston and Chicago are out of the picture," agent James Bryant said. "Tony has analyzed the situation carefully, and he's most at home with those two options: Pheonix is going to stay a winner, and Denver is going to be a winner."

If McDyess stays in Phoenix, the Nuggets are expected to make a final push for Timberwolves free agent forward Tom Gugliotta. If he chooses to return to Denver, where he played in the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons, it is unclear what the Suns' fallback plan will be.

The three-way trade involving the Timberwolves, Raptors and Nuggets had been rumored since Sunday.

The AP learned of the Battie-Knight trade from two league sources. It will reunite Knight with the Lakers, the team he played for before signing with Boston as a free agent. The Lakers acquired Battie from the Denver Nuggets in last June's Nick Van Exel trade.

Kerr will sign with the Bulls for $11 million over five years, then be shipped to the Spurs. San Antonio was undecided on exactly who it would send back to the Bulls, although Monty WIlliams was a possibility.

Among other previously undisclosed deals in the works:

-- Clippers free agent forward Loy Vaught was close to accepting a five-year offer from Detroit for about $23 million.

-- Hornets center Vlade Divac was due back from Europe on Tuesday to decide between competing offers from Sacramento, the Clippers and other teams.

-- Barkley and Rockets guard Matt Maloney were expected to re-sign with Houston.

-- Hawks free agent guard Eldridge Recasner was close to agreeing to a deal with Charlotte for four yars and $5 million.

-- Celtics center Popeye Jones was expected to re-sign with Boston for $8 million over three years.

-- Wizards forward Harvey Grant was headed to Philadelphia for two years.

Lawyers for the league and union also were squabbling over changes to so-called circumvention rules. The league wants to prohibit wink-and-nod deals in which a team would sign a free agent for one year with the unwritten understanding that a long-term deal would follow using the Bird exception. The union contends changes to that rule were never discussed.

"I think we have a realistic chance of getting it done by the end of the day tomorrow (Tuesday)," said Jeffrey Kessler, lead outside counsel for the union.