Knicks set to name Riley today Deal nearly done for ex-Lakers coach

May 31, 1991|By Sam Goldaper | Sam Goldaper,New York Times News Service

NEW YORK -- The Riley watch is over. The long negotiations are nearing an end, and the New York Knicks are expected to introduce Pat Riley as their new coach at a news conference today.

"I'm pushing for an end-of-the-week conclusion," Knicks president Dave Checketts said yesterday after further talks with Riley and his representatives.

Asked whether it could be done today, Checketts said: "We're hopeful it can be, but I've learned no deal is done until it's done. This one is almost done."

Since Riley has had the Knicks offer since May 21, why has it taken more than a week to work out?

"It takes time to work these things out," Checketts said. "There are philosophies and other things to work and talk out."

He would not discuss the financial aspect of the contract, which is believed to be for five years. He said only, "It's a good contract, a very good one."

Riley, 46, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to four NBA championships in the nine seasons he was their coach, resigned after the 1989-90season, when he was named the league's Coach of the Year for the first time. He spent the year away from coaching as co-host of "Show Time," the NBC television show that precedes NBA games, and as a motivational speaker.

In the days waiting for Riley to accept or reject the Knicks' offer to lure him back to coaching and away from the television microphone, the guessing was that Riley's asking price was in the range of $1 million to $1.5 million per year.

"Don't believe everything you hear and read," Checketts said.

The San Antonio Spurs' Larry Brown is the highest-paid coach, at $800,000 a year.

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